National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya says the Commission is expecting about 3,053,435 ballot papers in the country ahead of the ensuing October 10, 2017 representatives and presidential elections.
Cllr. Korkoya told a news conference at NEC Headquarters in Monrovia Wednesday, 20 September that 3,053,435 ballot papers for the presidential race and 3,112,725 ballot papers for the representative elections and elections materials are scheduled to arrive in the country on September 23 or 24.
About 2,183,629 Liberians are registered to vote in the October 10 elections being contested by 20 presidential candidates and nearly a thousand representative candidates for 73 seats at the House of Representatives.
“There is a five and three percent contingency included in the respective amounts in line with international best practice. 30,000 tactile ballots will also be delivered for the visually impaired Liberians. Elections’ materials have started to arrive in the country,” Chairman Korkoya says.
According to NEC boss, pre -packed polling [materials] arrived in Liberia on 17 September, adding that materials will start to be dispatched from Monrovia on 28 September.
Cllr. Korkoya explains that voter register has been distributed to all 19 magisterial offices around the country in accordance to Article 22, Sub Section 22.3, of the NEC’s voter registration regulation of 2016.
“Distribution of the final voter register to political parties has also commenced. We would call on those parties that have not yet collected and signed for a copy to do so and contact the political affairs section to facilitate this,” he adds.
According to him, sample ballot papers have have been produced so far for five counties, including Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Montserrado.
The NEC chair has encouraged political parties to collect details from the NEC head office, noting that the rest of the country sample ballot papers will be in the country by next week.
According to him, the local distribution will be challenging due to infrastructure and weather conditions that are beyond the Commission’s control.
“However, we are well prepared and as soon as all materials arrive in the country, it will be processed in our warehouse and securely escorted throughout the country,” Cllr. Korkoya says.
He says the large bulk of material will be transported by road, and that some very remote areas will require canoes.
He discloses that the Commission has an operation plan and transport is ready and waiting to carry these materials.
To increase the logistics of the electoral house, the NEC boss says the Commission has requested the United Nations Mission in Liberia to provide support in the transport of election materials to the harder – to – reach areas of the country.
“I am very pleased to announce this request was met with a positive response from the UNMIL leadership. As a result we will have the option of air support to ensure material reaches these locations,” he concludes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley