Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) is being challenged to prove how 84,057 ballots from the 10 October polls are rendered invalid. Addressing reporters over the weekend in Paynesville outside Monrovia, the Secretary-General of a local civil society group, Citizens for Transparent Elections in Liberia says figures announced by the Chairman of the NEC Cllr. Jerome Korkoya is alarming.
“I wonder how can this figure as pronounced by the NEC excel the total numbers of register voters in some counties and what also necessitated it”, asks Mr. Patrick D. White. He argues that the invalid votes as released by the National Elections Commission clearly demonstrates that the electoral body miserably failed to conduct sufficient public education throughout the country prior to the polls on how people should vote especially, for first time voters.
He stresses that the NEC should prioritize civic voter education during future elections to adequately prepare Liberians throughout the country to vote correctly rather than acknowledging very huge invalid votes after an election. Mr. White notes that the essence of conducting free, fair and transparent elections is to ensure that voters understand the process of voting rather than announcing outcomes to show high figures of invalid votes, which indicates that the NEC needs to do more to avoid such figures.
He says the Citizens for Transparent Elections in Liberia is preparing an official communication to the National Elections Commission to verify the truth of the matter. Meanwhile, the civil society organization is cautioning Liberians against any act that could disrupt the ongoing transitioning process.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne