The Chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has attributed the misplacement of names against individuals’ photographs on the voter roll as “human error” that could undermine the process of holding free, fair and transparent elections in October.
He had earlier reacted sharply to public concern that the situation could create serious problem on polling day, if not immediately addressed, describing apprehension expressed by the public as “total nonsense!”
But appearing before the full plenary of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol Building where he was summoned on Thursday, 22 June Chairman Korkoya however notes that there is no need for people to panic or worry on grounds that the electoral commission is in full control of the situation.
He discloses that the misplacement of voters’ names against photographs or absence of such information on the voter roll as a result of what he calls “human error” could affect about 13,000 Liberians across the country, representing 0.6 percent of the total registered voters.
However, he assures the senate that the commission is already battling the process of ratifying the situation by revisiting the data processing unit, and encourages legally registered voters to follow up at the NEC headquarters to get their information provided to registrants correct.
When quizzed by Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay how many forms were brought in the country, Korkoya says the commission printed about 4 million forms, but could not state how many forms were used, and how many left, on grounds that NEC is still processing forms with promise that said information would be available when the process is completed.
Cllr. Korkoya has been in hot water with the public, including some politicians over his recent comment that anyone with a voter card will be allowed to vote on polling day even if his or her name were not found on the voter roll exhibited to the public about a week ago across Liberia.
At a news conference on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the NEC boss called on people in such situations to visit the various polling centers to have their names and photos retaken to be placed in the data base.
Korkoya: “People with the issue of unavailability of photos during these exhibition periods should go to the various magistrates for photo taking and every Liberian who has voter card will vote. The errors wouldn’t affect you. There is nothing to be worried about. People should stop creating unnecessary alarm. Please help us to explain to the people the only reason we are holding exhibition is to correct the errors. We are working hard to ensure a credible election that will be acceptable. We have a fine process, we are working under extreme circumstances, we don’t say don’t criticize.”
The National Elections Commission on June 12th commenced the Exhibition of Provisional Voter Roll at all 2,080 Exhibition Centers (formerly Voter Registration Centers) across the country, which ended on 17 June. Editing by Jonathan Browne