Barely two months to elections, the National Elections Commission or NEC, announces the printing of ballots for the October 10th Presidential and Representative polls, putting the total cost at US$1.5 million.
Liberians go to the polls in October to elect a new President and members of the House of Representatives, in a poll which the incumbent, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is not a candidate. About two dozen presidential candidates are in the race, including Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, wants to succeed President Sirleaf.
The crowded field may likely lead to a runoff as none of parties here is expected to win 50 percent plus one of the total votes to emerge victorious. This has been the case from the two previous elections conducted in 2005 and 2011 respectively.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, August 9, at the NEC headquarters in Monrovia, Chairman Jerome George Korkoya explains that the ballot papers will be printed in Europe by a technological company.
When queried about the total ballot papers to be printed, the NEC boss evaded the question, but added that the Commission has already satisfied the Public Procurement Concession Commission requirement.
He says the NEC has reached final conclusion with the unnamed company and the process of designing the ballot is in progress. Cllr. Korkoya assures that the printing of ballot papers will be transparent, and that political parties are encouraged to designate one representative each to visit Europe and have a glace of the ballot for the October 10, 2017 elections.
He quickly clarifies that political parties will be responsible for air tickets and lodgings of their representatives. “We’re trying to make the printing of the ballot papers very transparent where every stakeholder can have a say in the process or can witness the entire exercise, so we encourage parties to send their representatives to the printing house through our guidance. But political parties will be responsible for representatives’ travel expenses,” he notes.
Meanwhile, Chairman Korkoya also announces that the case between Montserrado County Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe and Momi County Senator Sando Johnson is being climaxed and the NEC Board of Commissioners will come down with verdict today, Thursday, 10 August at the headquarters of the Commission.
On July 31, NEC Hearing Office headed by Cllr. Muanah S. Ville announced that Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe could not establish domicile as required by Elections laws to contest in the ensuing elections for Sinje District #1 in Bomi County.
The decision followed Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson’s complaint on July 21 that Rep. Snowe was crisscrossing to another county even though he is a sitting lawmaker for Montserrado County District #6.
Commissioner Ville, in his ruling, said it was discovered that Rep. Snowe is the sitting Representative of Montserrado District #6 and currently holds an unexpired certificate of the NEC dated 2011 and therefore, could not be allowed to contest for another district. But Snowe took an appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners, which are expected to rule today.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne