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NEC defends contingency ballots

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Amid increased public concern and fear in some political parties over the printing of excess ballot papers for Tuesday’s Presidential and Representative Elections the National Elections Commission says “printing contingency ballots are consistent with industry standard practice.”


NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya reassures political parties, stakeholders and voters across the country that there is no question to the integrity of the number of ballot papers being deployed in polling places across the country ahead of next week’s polls.

“Although we have sufficiently addressed this question prior, the Commission would like to, once more, reassure political parties, all stakeholders and voters that there is no question related to the integrity of the number of ballot papers being deployed. Printing contingency ballots are consistent with industry standard practice”, Chairman Korkoya says in a regular press conference on Wednesday, 4 October in Monrovia.

He says deployment of materials is in progress, as NEC operational personnel are working around the clock to pack materials at the Commission’s warehousing facilities. “And these materials are being delivered to the various counties presently. Security is in place at all levels.”

At the same time the NEC is encouraging voters to check their voter’s card details thru SMS by texting 1847 to the Commission’s data base for instant response.

He further assures there are full accountability mechanisms in place to account for every single ballot paper, adding, “Every ballot will be accounted for at opening and closing of polling places. Those that will be used, not used and spoilt will be fully accounted for in a transparent and consistent manner.”

Apprehensions of probable attempt by the NEC to cheat in the wake of excess ballots brought into the country, has gone viral, specifically in Monrovia and its environs with various constructions and threats of violence, sending fears among voters.

Meanwhile, Chairman Korkoya discloses here that NEC has also taken delivery of a shipment of electronics equipment from South Africa, including photocopiers as part of building a stronger institution.

“I would like to thank the South African Government and people for this donation. I would also like to thank H.E. the President, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for the formal request to the Government of South Africa for this equipment on her recent official visit there. And for her government’s support to the National Elections Commission throughout this process.”

The final batch of ballot papers for candidates vying for the House of Representatives was scheduled to arrive in the country Wednesday, making the arrival of all election materials for the elections.

Chairman Korkoya says delay was largely due to the irregular size of the ballot papers in few electoral districts in Montserrado County that have up to 28 candidates, but notes the issue has since been resolved and all ballots printed.

Official campaign for political parties and Independent Candidates ends at midnight Sunday, 8 October across the country. The exercise has been relatively peaceful except for an isolated violence recently in Nimba and Montserrado Counties between the Coalition for Democratic Change and the Liberty Party on one hand, and the Coalition and the governing Unity Party on the other.

-Story by Jonathan Browne

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