COMPUTING

Kenyan Students Design Vote Tallying Software

A group of university students in Nairobi has developed tallying software that could cut costs and eliminate errors at the Electoral Commission of Kenya. The students said the software could enable the controversial electoral body record and process results electronically at individual polling stations across the country.

Displaying their creations at the 11th annual Engineering Students' Exhibition at the Sarit Centre in Nairobi, the students said those results could then be transmitted wirelessly to a central system, reducing opportunities for fraud while saving precious time and money.

The University of Nairobi and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa students said they did not understand why the Electoral Commission of Kenya failed to use better technology during the December 2007 polls. "Given the power of mobile phones, there should have been a better system of monitoring the elections," said Quentin Papu, who developed tallying software for hand-held devices as part of a school project at the University of Nairobi.

Using his software, agents at polling stations would first log into their mobile phones using a unique user ID and password. They would then enter presidential and parliamentary results and send them to the electoral commission headquarters in Nairobi.

Agents' phones would be synchronised with the central system, to eliminate discrepancies between the final announcement and individual outcomes at polling stations.

The Nation

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