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1.1 Background of the study:

Election is a process through which voters choose their representatives and express their preferences for the way that they will be governed. A proper electoral system reflects the true voice of the people in a nation and thus, a better government which respect and uphold the ideals of constitutionalism. In all the world’s established democracies, elections are a national and very serious civic business conducted at specific periods, civic and serious because a country’s leadership is produced through this process. Governments in these democracies have continued to invest huge sums of money in search of better ways of managing and administering electoral processes in order to make it easier, less tedious and less controversial. Despite the investments on elections and electoral processes, it has seemed most countries especially developing countries like Nigeria still has a long way to go, as manual method of voting is still being practiced in even general elections as is involved in the collation and announcement of results (Anichebe, 2016).

The word “Vote” means to choose from a list, to elect or to determine who leads a group of people for a period of time. The process of electing leaders lies in the hands of a group of people who willingly will cast their votes for a choice candidate (Akshaya et al., 2017).

Traditional or manual voting system also known as ballot voting system is a method by which recording and counting votes are carried out on paper cards. For this type of election, the most well-known approach for a voter to voice out his/her own choice candidate from a number of candidates vying for an electoral position is to vote at a particular polling unit (Ofori, 2011). Numerous problems are still mitigating the process such as; ballot box snatching and stuffing, difficulty in timely delivery and distribution of electoral materials, biased electoral umpires and officials, multiple registrations and voting, result manipulation, inconclusive elections, low voter turnout, disenfranchisement of eligible voters, child voter registration, poorly managed voter registration process, late arrival of ballot boxes, stealing of ballot boxes, under-aged voting, illegal voting by non-Nigerian nationals, rioting and fighting at election venues due to insufficient number of security personnel, disenfranchisement of those in Diaspora as well as the physically handicapped by virtue of election distances to them, prolonged delay in accreditation of determining the result of an election, cancellation of  votes due to improper voting, prolonged counting of votes and delay in announcing results and week electoral policies and laws. Nigeria as a country has got her unfair share of the challenges listed above, which has made it increasingly difficult to organize complaint free elections (Nwogu, 2015).

Some pro-technology pundits have argued strongly and unequivocally that the introduction of verifiable, accountable, auditable and reliable technology in the electoral process in Nigeria can go a long a way in addressing the challenges listed in the foregoing. This stand has not been without strong opposition from some schools of thought; as the opponents of online voting have continually argued that the introduction of technology, especially information technology can lead to widespread and uncontrolled hi-tech electoral manipulation from desperate politicians. This topic has been debated severally on the floors of the two chambers of the National Assembly of Nigeria, with the outcome being the dropping of such bills seeking to introduce online voting in Nigeria. (Nwogu, 2016).

Voters in Nigeria also have continued to voice out their frustrations over the electoral system, these issues have led to voter’s apathy, which is a situation where voters don’t come out to perform their civic rights for the fear of pending dangers. Consequently, Nigerian’s seek the development of a system that minimizes the intricacy in voting process (Nwogu, 2015). Such system, they say will encourage voter participation in the electoral process which at the moment is not encouraging and this is basically because of fear of the unknown that can occur during the voting period.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is the election management body that responsible for general elections while the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) are responsible for elections at the local government level. INEC was established in 1999 by section 153(f) of the Constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. One of the powers of the Commission as stipulated in Part I of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is to “organize, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice-president, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a state, and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation”. It is also the body responsible for registering all eligible voters, constituency delineation, and making regulations for the smooth running of the electoral process (center for democracy and development, 2018).

Voting schemes have evolved from counting hands in early days to systems that include paper, punch card, mechanical lever and optical-scan machines, Electronic voting systems provide some characteristic different from the traditional voting technique, and also it provides improved features of voting system over traditional voting system such as; lesser fraud, lesser cost, accurate counting, convenience, flexibility, privacy, verifiability and mobility (Anichebe, 2016).

Voting systems have been present for long time but with the emergence of new web technologies, the conventional electoral process, should be modernized to allow for the organization of Elections in many different ways. Paper-based elections make use of paper ballots, while automated elections make use of some kind of voting machines that automate the voting and/or tabulation procedures. When the voting machines are actually implemented by computers, we talk about electronic voting. Online voting systems are much more formal than polling booth systems, because they seek (or should seek) to accurately reflect the voter’s preferences. It is generally perceived as a medium for promoting democracy, establishing belief in electoral management, adding integrity to election outcomes and improving the overall efficiency of the electoral process (Ofori et al., 2011).

Online voting which is a form of electronic voting involves the use of internet which makes it web-based. There can be no online voting without the use of either laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones or mobile phones, that are connected to the internet (Ankit et al., 2012).

In a typical online voting process, users interact with the system as this interaction are performed remotely through the user’s web browser. Users are provided with an online registration form before voting user should fill online form and submit details these details are compared with details in database and if they match then user is provided with username and password using this information user can login and vote. If conditions are not correct entry will be canceled. It contains two level of user’s administrator level and voter level where each level has different functionality (Raja et al., 2015).

Voters will be able to access the website wherever and whenever they desire and choose their preferred candidates so far, they have internet connection. Online voting significantly decreases direct human control which is viewed as a positive point but at the same time it presents an entire scope of new concerns (Hosany et al., 2017).

Internet based voting systems require strong safeguards against hacking attacks, viruses and Trojans. Hijackers can take control of the website from adding up voters, removing voters to the final stage of election result details, such actions can be perpetuated from a different location where the voting process occurs. A virus or network attack can also do same degree of damage to the voting process if all loopholes in the design and deployment phase are not carefully fixed. Network attacks may be met by cryptographic key exchange and distributed backend databases. Information dispersal algorithms and verifiable secret sharing schemes may be used to maintain system fairness such that no single server stores all the cast ballots and the partitions are distributed over independent servers. As long as a majority of these servers remain honest, the possibility of sabotage will remain low (Parakh, 2010).

Even with the disadvantages that can arise from the use of online voting systems (Hosany et al., 2017) noted that, it is a fact that with proper implementation, online voting system can get rid of several frauds, pace up the preparing of results and make voting more appropriate for the public.

With this proposed system for online voting, casting of electronic ballots from virtually any location around the world without visiting a polling unit, in a highly secured manner will be possible, so far, the person can be validly identified as a Nigerian. Such voting’s from the voter’s choice location will ensure security of lives and properties in a fearless and violent electioneering period, this system hopes to increase the percentage of voter’s participation. The system will be an altogether paperless one since it will eliminate all the manual tasks.

1.2 Problem Statement

In Nigeria elections are conducted every 4 (four) years for Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and State Houses of Assembly seats. The government spend a lot of money to equip the umpire body (INEC) to be able conduct credible elections, this finances for the election cut across voter education and awareness, purchase of election materials such as voter card printing machines, voters card readers and ballot boxes, training of AD-HOC Staffs, payment of security formations who guide and protect election materials and AD-HOC staffs, payment for transportation of sensitive INEC materials, payment for those who conduct the elections,  payment for returning officers. With all the spending’s and planning processes for these elections, it’s easy to believe that the election process can be conducted without problems but that’s not the case, as varying problems come up, some of which are tagged “issues based on logistics”. This issues usually have led to the shift of the election dates, also for places where this electoral materials are kept attacks on INEC staffs are prone as hoodlums try to get and destroy the materials to destabilize the electoral process at specific places, even when this incidents don’t occur at some places and the materials reach the polling units there are other problems that can surface such as card reader failures and voters not being able to see their names at their designated polling units. Snatching of ballot boxes and violence are also amongst what happens in the polling units, which are actions that sometimes lead to loss of lives and properties. With all the challenges, there is a great need for online voting even with its own set of disadvantages which borders round voting process manipulations which can be performed from any part of the world when the system is not highly secured, therefore their will be need to ensure lack of loopholes in the design to reduce attacks.

The proposed system will be robust to tackle the gaps in the current system which amongst many include; lack of transparency and error-free election process. The system will be capable of checking duplicates, output winners based on live majority votes. The system will be designed with a modular approach and the number of modules is decided as per the requirements of the election. The two modules are administrator module and the user module, where the administrator has total authority of the organization and maintains all the aspects of the voting system, while the user has the provision to view the list of all candidates and results as well as vote for the desired candidates.

1.3. Aim and Objectives of the Research

The aim of this research is to develop an online voting system to ensure a safer and secured voting process that will guarantee voters votes count, as the results will be true reflection of the majority voter’s choice. The objectives of this research work are as follows:

  1. To analyze and understand existing online voting systems.
  2. To design an online voting system for elections using context diagram, use case diagram, ERD.
  • To implement the design (ii) above using PHP programming language.
  1. To test and evaluate the codes developed in (iii) above for correctness and robustness.

1.4 Scope of the Study

Online voting system is a web-based platform that is an alternative to manual voting, it seeks to provide an avenue for voters to perform their civic rights without any form of apathy, the system is meant to be highly secured against attacks that can lead to vote manipulations. For the purpose of this research work, we shall be limited to developing a website for voters to use and vote for their preferred candidates from any part of the world.

1.5 Definition of Terms

VOTE: To vote is to express or signify will or choice in a matter, it’s done by casting a ballot. Also, it’s said to be a formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made byan individual or body of individuals, such the means by which such expression is made, as a ballot, ticket, etc.

ONLINE: This is basically having the ability to be able to communicate with people, perform specific functions based on what is available on a website. To be online, active internet access is needed, with a device such as a phone or computer.

ONLINE VOTING:  Online voting or e-voting (electronic voting) is a voting that is performed using the internet to cast and count votes in a democratic election.

VOTER: A person who has the legal right to vote for his/her preferred candidate in an election.

HTML CODE: HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a type of computer language that is primarily used for files that are posted on the internet and viewed by web browsers. HTML files can also be sent via email.

MARKUP LANGUAGE: A markup language is a combination of words and symbols which give instructions on how a document should appear. For example, a tag may indicate that words are written in italics or bold type.

WEB BROWSER: -A Web browser is a software program that interprets the coding language of the World Wide Web in graphic form, displaying the translation rather than the coding. This allows anyone to “browse the Web” by simple point and click navigation, bypassing the need to know commands used in software languages.


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