The National Elections Commission (NEC) says presidential ballot papers from the European state of Slovenia have arrived in Liberia. In a press release issued Sunday, 24 September, NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya said the ballot papers arrived here in the night of Saturday, 23 September at the Roberts International Airport on board a chartered Egypt cargo aircraft.
Chairman Korkoya says the distribution of the presidential ballot papers to all 5390 polling places throughout the country will begin next week. According to the NEC boss, representative ballot papers will arrive in Liberia from Ghana on or before 28 September. Cllr. Korkoya officially announced the ballot’s arrival on Sunday at a special arranged press conference held at the NEC Headquarters in Sinkor.
He says the Liberia National Police (LNP) had deployed armed officers at the airport to provide maximum protection during the arrival of the ballot papers. The armed police also escorted the ballot papers to the NEC Headquarters in Monrovia. To keep the commitment of openness, the Commission notes that the media was represented at the arrival ballot papers, allowed to view the offloading and movement of the ballot papers from the aircraft and out of the airport.
The press conference was also attended by international partners of NEC, including UNMIL, IFES, UNDP, among others. Prior to the arrival of the presidential ballot papers, Cllr. Korkoya had announced on 20 September that a total of 100,000 mock ballots for each election and 1,210 tactile ballots for training purposes were already in Liberia and being used for training purposes.
The Commission had said 3,053,435 presidential and 3,112,725 legislative ballot papers were scheduled to start arriving in Liberia on 23 or24 September. It announced a five and three percent contingency included in the respective amounts in line with international best practice, noting that 30,000 tactile ballots will also be delivered for the visually impaired.
While announcing that election material had started to arrive in Liberia, the Commission noted that pre-packed polling kits arrived in Liberia on 17 September and a second batch on 19 September. It said polling booths arrived on 17 September, adding that material will start to be dispatched from Monrovia on 28 September. Sample ballots papers have so far been produced for five of the counties, it said, naming Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa and Montserrado.
The Commission encourages political parties to collect details from the political affairs section of the NEC. The large bulk of material will be transported by road, and some very remote areas will require canoes, according to the Commission. To increase its logistics capacity, the Commission says it has requested UNMIL to provide support in the transport of election material to the harder to reach areas of the country. –Press release