Results Transmission and Presentation (RTS)
RTS is a system for transmitting provisional results electronically to an observation centre. At the end of voting and when votes have been counted and tallied, the Presiding Officers (Pos) enter the data on the signed results sheet (Form 35) into a specially configured mobile phones and transmits the results simultaneous to the election results centres at the constituency, county and national level. RTS is used to:
- Enhance transparency through electronic transmission of provisional results from the polling stations
- Display and visualize provisional results at the tally centers
- Provide access to provisional elections data to media and other stakeholders in real time
The RTS has been a great success. The public been able to watch live streams of results at the big screens set up by IEBC at observation centres or on national television. It has been used successfully in all by-elections since 2009, the 2010 Referendum and the last general election. Although the electronic results are "provisional" because it they lack legal recognition, the outcomes reflect the final hard copy results. There have been cases of candidates conceding defeat on the basis of the electronic results although IEBC only declares winners on the hard copy tally. RTS gives quick trends on how the voting went. Obviously, it is the results from the polling stations with fewer voters that are the first to come in. Where the telecoms service provider signal is weak or absent, the IEBC polling officials use satellite phones or travel to where there is adequate signal presence. The points of transmission are often identified in advance. In some cases, IEBC works with mobile phone service providers to enhance the signals at the polling centres.
During the March 4th polls, only 17,000 of the 33,000 polling stations managed to transmit results before it was overwhelmed by some technical hitches. This alternative way of getting results had to be discontinued when it became too slow and although the problem was identified and fixed, a number of officials had abandoned the transmission as they took hard copies of the same to tallying centres. The Commission is working towards strengthening the RTS system by setting up faster connectivity and better servers. This is demonstrated by the efficient way results for by-elections conducted thereafter have been successfully transmitted. Provisional results have always tallied with the final results.