Just a week to the December 08 legislative elections, the National Elections Commission (NEC) announces arrival of ballot papers into the country. NEC chairperson Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah says, “The National Elections Commission (NEC) is pleased to announce the arrival of ballot papers for the Special Senatorial Elections, Constitutional Referendum and two Representative by-elections in District #2, Sinoe County and District #9, Montserrado County.”
She continues, “The first batch of ballots arrived on Saturday night November 28, 2020, onboard Kenya Airways. Because of the quantity expected, the ballots will arrive in several batches until Wednesday, December 2, 2020.”
Madam Lansanah explains in a statement that total ballots needed for the Special Senatorial Elections are Three Million, Two Hundred Seventy-Nine Thousand, One Hundred (3,279,100); the Constitutional Referendum: Three Million, Two Hundred Sixty-Seven Thousand (3,267,000); District #9, Montserrado County by-election ballots: Sixty-Six Thousand, Five Hundred Fifty (66,550); and District #2, Sinoe County by-election ballots: Thirty Thousand, Two Hundred Fifty (30,250), respectively.
She says of the total number of ballots printed, the following have already arrived, while all ballots for the Special Senatorial Elections have arrived except for the record of count for Sinoe County which was expected to have arrived on Monday, 30 November 2020.
For the Constitutional Referendum: 2,450,250 ballots are in the country, including District #9, Montserrado County By-election, except for the record of count and tactile sleeves; District #2, Sinoe County By-election all of the ballots have arrived except for the tactile sleeves and record of count. The NEC says remaining ballots will arrive between today and Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah adds that ballots for the Constitutional Referendum had to be reprinted based on the ruling of the Supreme Court, which prohibits the NEC from printing ballots contrary to Joint Resolution 002/2019 and Article 92 of the Liberian Constitution. As such, the Referendum ballots have been reprinted with the following eight ballot measures.
She details that they include ballots for proposition seeking dual citizenship for natural born Liberians, with restrictions on holding certain positions contain two passports for a yes vote; and a single passport for a no vote. The ballot color is orange.
The second ballot measure is change of election date from rainy season in October to dry season in November. Symbols for this ballot measure are the sun for a yes vote; and an umbrella for a no vote. The ballot color is yellow, while the third ballot measure seeks to reduce the time the NEC has to hear and decide election disputes from 30 days to fifteen days. Symbols for this ballot measure are a big clock for a yes vote and a small clock for a no vote.
The ballot color is red and the fourth ballot measure seeks to change the Presidential term from six years to five years. A yes vote is depicted by a small chair and a no vote is depicted by a big chair.
The electoral house also explains that the fifth ballot measure is for the reduction of the term of Senators from nine years to seven years. Like the presidential term, the ballot symbol is a small chair for a yes vote; and a big chair for a no vote; the sixth ballot measure is to reduce the term of the President Pro-tempore from six to five years; the ballot measure is represented by a small chair for a yes vote; and a big chair for a no vote, and the seventh ballot measure is to reduce the term of office for the House of Representatives from six to five years.
The ballot measure is represented by a small chair for a yes vote; and a big chair for a no vote and the last proposition on the ballot is to reduce the term of office for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker from six years to five years. A yes vote for this proposition is represented by a small chair and a no vote is represented by a big chair. The ballot color for all the tenure positions is purple.
“The Commission has observed postings on social media, wherein packaging papers on a few of the cartoon boxes containing the ballots are displayed. The NEC staff along with airport securities did spot check on the few boxes in question and verified that the contents of the boxes were intact. All ballots brought in country are accounted for and are currently under security protection in the NEC Central warehouse.
The Commission wishes to reassure the Liberian people of its commitment to the holding of free, fair and credible Special Senatorial Elections, Constitutional Referendum and the two Representative By-Elections in district number 9 Montserrado County and District Number 2 Sinoe County,” Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah concludes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne