The Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC, one of the two forerunners from the 10 October presidential and representatives elections here says it is worried over the huge invalid votes from the poll, calling on the National Elections Commission to immediately embark on vigorous civic voter education ahead of the impending runoff to reduce the number of invalid votes, currently put at 84,057 by the NEC.
The CDC and the governing Unity Party are poised to go for a runoff in November after all 20 presidential candidates, who participated in the first round of polling failed to obtain 50 percent plus one of the total votes cast across the country as constitutionally required, to be declared winner.
Provisional poll results released by the NEC as of Sunday, `5 October from 5,151 of the 5,390 or 96.5 percent of the polling places put the Coalition for Democratic Change, which is a conglomeration of the Congress for Democratic Change, the National Patriotic Party and the Liberian People Democratic Party ahead with 572, 374 or 39.2 percent of the total votes cast, while the governing Unity Party has 427,544 or 29.1 percent of the total votes cast, followed by the Liberty Party of Cllr. Brumskine in third place with 144,353 or 9.8 percent of the total votes tabulated so far.
CDC national youth wing Chairman Jefferson Koijii in a news conference in Monrovia says the huge number of invalid votes should worry any political party or contender, and the country at large.
According to him, the Coalition provided ‘adequate’ voter education to its partisans and all Liberians that were within the reach of the training exercise prior to the polls, but to the dismay of the party, the NEC announced over 84,000 invalid votes, something, he describes as troubling.
NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya says nearly 96 percent of the 5,380 polling places have been tallied, representing over 1.5 million votes.
Chairman Korkoya says the invalid votes occur because electorate in appropriately marked the ballots. He cites as an example, voters placing check marks against the names of two candidates, whereas an X or check mark or thumb print should only be placed against the candidate of a voter’s choice.
Mr. Koijii laments that over 84,000 invalid votes constitute about 25 percent of the 2.1 registered voters across the country, said numbers, he notes, have a propensity to have changed the current poll results, if only they were valid.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor