As the 2023 general elections approach, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken centre stage with multiple campaigns to encourage Nigerians to register to get the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote. While the focus has been on voter registration, no voter can vote without holding a PVC.

In this report, we have chosen to look at the CVR process beyond just voter registration and track its performance all the way to PVC collection. We polled 4,001 Nigerians in eight states across the country.

Our findings are as follows:

  • 64% of our respondents had commenced the CVR process.
    Only 41% of those who have started the CVR process have been able to collect their PVCs.
    Only 23% of those who have collected their PVCs were able to do so on their first visit. The rest had to make at least two visits and 20% went at least four times before getting their PVCs.
    Most Nigerians do not trust the reasons INEC has stated for their PVCs not being ready.
    29% of those who commenced the CVR process encountered violence in the process.
    Young people below 35 dropped out of the CVR process at a greater proportion than those older than 35.
    INEC’s failure of being transparent in communicating with prospective voters on the status of the CVR process is one of the key reasons for this drop-off.

Key Recommendations:

  • INEC should include publishing of PVC production, actual PVC collection numbers versus registration numbers in its public communications on a monthly basis to keep it accountable.
    INEC should include notifications of readiness of PVCs via SMS in its process in order to bridge the gap between printed PVCs and actual attempts to collect the PVCs.
    INEC should include a tracking process in its online portal to transparently communicate to the voter where each CVR process is.INEC should modify its incentives to its staff to ensure that they prioritise PVC distribution, especially as elections approach.
    Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), activists and funders should modify their campaigns from merely encouraging Voter Registration to mobilising for PVC collection.
    CSOs and activists should engage INEC closer on PVC collection status and information to demand transparency and accountability on this important point.

Download complete report (15 pages)