The National Elections Commission (NEC) says it is anticipating additional 300, 000 newly registered voters to be added to the already over one million voters during the ongoing voters’ roll update exercise.
Speaking at a press conference, Tuesday September 22, at the Commission’s headquarters in Monrovia, NEC’s Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah along with the entire board of commissioners said despite the challenges of posed by bad road networks and the raining season, the commission projection is 300,000 and that the commission is sure of reaching the targeted number.
The Voter Roll Update exercise, which commenced on September 1, 2020, is proceeding according to schedule after a challenging start. The exercise is in its final stages and it will conclude on Friday, September 25, 2020, Madam Lansanah announced during the press interaction.
“The NEC wishes to remind all Liberians that the Voter Roll Update will not be extended, as doing so will mean changing the Election Date of December 8, 2020. While the process remains on course, some challenges, such as crowdedness at some of the urban centers still persist, but the NEC is doing everything possible to mitigate these challenges as we progress to the conclusion to the exercise,” Chairperson Lansanah said.
She told the conference that the candidate nomination exercise for the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections has ended. The exercise, which began on September 11, 2020 ended since, Monday, September 21, 2020, at 5:00PM as scheduled.
Speaking on the issue of trucking voters from point to another, Madam Lansanah said the NEC is deeply concerned about reports of trucking.
She added that the electoral house wish to reiterate that trucking is prohibited under Chapter 10.1(a) of the New Elections Law and is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment of up to six months.
According to the new Elections Law Chapter 10.1 (a), “The following acts shall constitute malfeasance, punishable under this chapter: (a) Influencing or attempt to influence the results of any election; (b) Emitting or refusal to sign the register or other document which is required to be signed in connection with any election without just cause.
Detailing her argument furthered, Madam Lansanah intimated while the NEC is not clothed with authority to impose criminal penalties, the Commission frowns on the trucking of citizens for political purpose, and calls on all involved in this practice to immediately desist.
“Let it be known that a person who is trucked to another area is also in violation of Chapter 3 of the NEW Elections Law, which states that a person must register to vote in the area where he or she ordinarily resides and if established, consistent with due process of law, that a person was trucked in this regard, his or her name will be removed from the voter roll and turned over to the Ministry of Justice for further action,” she said.
Meanwhile, Madam Browne announced that the three propositions for the Referendum will be represented by symbols.
“I am pleased to report that the three symbols have been vetted by stakeholders and the Board of Commissioners has approved them for printing and posting through the 19 magisterial areas across Liberia. The symbols will be subjects of nation-wide voter education for the Referendum,” she added.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Othello B. Garblah