In Summary
  • In computer science, a database is a collection of information that is organised so that it can be easily accessed, managed and updated.

  • The IEBC database has built-in formulas to collate the data from constituencies and post collated results on public portals for all to see.

Since Tuesday, the debate about the IEBC database, that is, the system on which all the reported election results sit, has been in the public domain.

Ever since National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga produced a print-out of tens of pages containing the database information, many questions have been raised.

To many, the tech lingo has been flying over their heads. The ins and outs of databases can be tech-heavy for the less tech-savvy readers.

In computer science, a database is a collection of information that is organised so that it can be easily accessed, managed and updated.

Information is organised into rows, columns and tables, and in a fashion to make it easier to find relevant information.

A good example is the address book on your phone. It contains the names of your contacts, their phone numbers, perhaps some information on what they do. That is a database.

POLLING STATIONS

Back to IEBC, let’s now look at the movement of data from polling stations to the national level.

Presidential results at a polling station are summarised on form 34A by a Polling Officer. All forms 34As are delivered to the Returning Officer at the constituency.

The Returning Officer ensures that the information in all those forms is summarised into for 34B.

Information in form 34B (that is, the constituency tally) is entered into a computer system and electronically transmitted to the IEBC database.

The IEBC database has built-in formulas to collate the data from constituencies and post collated results on public portals for all to see.

Results arriving at the IEBC database cannot be changed without leaving a paper trail. Should that happen, the system should alert senior IEBC officials of the change or attempted change.

LOG BOOK

The system records all events that happen to the database automatically in an event log.

An event log is a basic “log book” that is analysed and monitored by anyone with the right to access it. It can capture different types of information.

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