Types Of Voting | Open Ballot, Secret Ballot, Free And Fair Election

Public or Open Ballot System The public or open ballot system is a voting method where voters cast their votes openly in full view of candidates and the public. In this system, voters express their support by showing hands or queuing behind their chosen candidate or their poster. Unlike secret balloting, there are no polling […]

Public or Open Ballot System

The public or open ballot system is a voting method where voters cast their votes openly in full view of candidates and the public. In this system, voters express their support by showing hands or queuing behind their chosen candidate or their poster. Unlike secret balloting, there are no polling booths or ballot papers involved. This system gained popularity during Nigeria’s Babangida regime.

 

Advantages Of Open Ballot System

  1. Cost-effective, saving money on polling booths and ballot paper production.
  2. Simple and easy to understand.
  3. Helps prevent rigging vices such as illegal printing and thumb-printing of ballot papers.
  4. Results are easily ascertainable as everything is done openly.
  5. Minimizes double-voting compared to secret balloting.
  6. Speeds up the announcement of election results.

 

Disadvantages Of Open Ballot System

  1. Associated with intimidation and victimization, making it susceptible to manipulation.
  2. Difficult to ensure maximum security.
  3. Disenfranchises influential individuals like the president, governors, and traditional rulers.
  4. Challenges in crowd control during elections.
  5. Time-consuming and may create enmity among voters.
  6. Can discourage voter participation.

 

Secret Ballot System

The secret ballot system involves voters casting their votes in complete secrecy, selecting their preferred candidate in a private enclosure and dropping the ballot into the ballot box.

 

Advantages Of Secret Ballot System

  1. Allows voters to cast their votes freely without fear of intimidation.
  2. Democratic and widely accepted.
  3. Provides voters the freedom to choose their preferred candidate.
  4. Encourages political participation.

 

Disadvantages of Secret Ballot System

  1. Expensive to operate due to the cost of materials like ballot boxes.
  2. May encourage electoral malpractices.
  3. Voters may mishandle ballot papers, spoiling their votes.
  4. Time-consuming and complex.

 

Compulsory Voting

Compulsory voting makes it mandatory for all eligible voters to participate, treating non-participation as a criminal offense.

 

Optional Voting

Optional voting grants eligible voters the choice of whether or not to participate.

 

Voting By Post

Registered voters can cast their votes from outside their registered area by sending their votes through the post.

 

Voting By Proxy

Absent voters can be represented by an authorized proxy.

 

Secret Open Voting

Combining elements of both open and secret voting, voters are gathered openly but cast their votes in privacy.

 

Free And Fair Election

A free and fair election is conducted without harassment or coercion, adhering to democratic principles.

 

Conditions Necessary For Free And Fair Election

  1. Impartial electoral commission.
  2. Political parties for competition.
  3. Equal division into constituencies.
  4. Enactment of electoral laws.
  5. Public counting of votes under strict security.
  6. Timely announcement of results.
  7. Equality of campaigning conditions.
  8. Adequate remuneration and training for election officials.
  9. Adoption of secret voting.
  10. Provision for challenging election results in court.

 

Organization Of Election

Elections follow a structured pattern, including the formation of electoral acts, setting up electoral commissions, creating districts, registering political parties and voters, nominating candidates, campaigning, Election Day, result declaration, and the option to contest results in an electoral tribunal.

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