The ballot boxes are already full with votes and you will be forgiven to think that the General Election is here and that a candidate is about to win by 9am.
Then a middle-aged man strolls into the station. He wants to know how he can vote. An official of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission asks him for his identity card, which he produces.
Then the official works some magic on a tablet and tells the man that his name is on the ballot. “You are registered in Vihiga,” the clerk says. The man’s face is expressionless, as if he did not expect a machine that small to have information that accurate.
He asks whether this is the machine that will be used to confirm his biometrics.
“Yes it is. On the election day, such a gadget at the polling centre will be loaded with all your credentials and your identity will be easily verified,” explains the election official.
One of the gadgets that the officers are using is docked to a power bank and it appears the power failures witnessed in the 2013 General Election have been dwelt with for good.
The scene played out on Tuesday at one of the IEBC’s stands at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on the second day of the agency’s National Elections Conference 2017.
The IEBC had created a mock polling station where people would take part in a mock election and have a feel of what will be expected on August 8. A “voter” would be presented with the ballot papers for all positions, in the actual colours of the materials to be used during the General Election. One would produce their ID, be issued with the papers then proceed to vote.
“No photos, please,” exclaimed an official at the stand when this writer tried to capture the ballots while inside a voting booth. “Tell those who come here that no one should take photos of the ballots,” she said to the other officials at the stand.
Although the officials could not tell the number of those who cast the mock votes, contents in the transparent ballot boxes could reveal that hundreds had passed by the stand. The most intriguing part for visitors was confirmation of registration.