The Elections Coordinating Committee or ECC has flagged some irregularities that have reportedly engulfed the Voters’ Registration exercise.ECC at a news conference on Thursday, 9 February in Monrovia said the process is marred with huge irregularities, including late arrival of staffs at registration sites, miss-location of registration centers, misspelling of registrants, defective cameras, and lack of security officers at registration centers, among others.
“Overall reports from the ECC observers across all 15 sub-political divisions in the entire country. There have been challenges such as some centers not opening or issues with the cameras, but these have not been widespread,” said head of ECC Steering Committee, Mr. Oscar Bloh.
He stated that most registration centers lack uniformed security and political parties are generally not deploying representatives to witness the voter registration process, adding that registration staffs appear to be unevenly in requiring applicants to provide proof of eligibility.
Commenting on the pace of the process Mr. Bloh stated, “ECC observers report from across 15 counties show on average 75 applicants were successfully registered each day at registration centers and that this number was increasing.”
At the same time, a member of the Steering Committee, Mr. Eddie Jarwulo has called on the National Elections Commission to ensure that all registration centers open at 8:00 a.m. and that steps are taken to provide functioning cameras to isolated centers.
He encouraged the NEC to provide data on registration centers to enhance the transparency and accountability of the process.
The election monitors told the news conference that the ECC was able to rapidly collect, verify, and analyze data on the voter registration process because for the first time ever, its observers were reporting in real time by sending in reports, using coded text messages via mobile phones.
“All reports are received and processed at the ECC’s elections data hub using a specifically designed elections database.
Liberians need to remember that if you want to vote in 2017, you must register in 2017”, added ECC Steering Committee member Madam Victoria Wollie.
The Elections Coordinating Committee is a civil society platform that comprised of 30 organizations that are observing all aspect of elections in Liberia. The ECC has deployed 89 observers across the 15 counties to witness the voter registration process.
The ongoing exercised, which commenced on February 1, is expected to last to March 7, this year.
Already, NEC Chairman Jerome George Kokorya has announced that about one million Liberians have registered; expressing anticipation that NEC could exceed the 2. 5 million voters projection earlier announced.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne