By Winston W. Parley
Liberia’s Supreme Court has declared Simeon B. Taylor as the winner of the Special Senatorial Election held in Grand Cape Mount County on 8 December 2020, affirming the final ruling of the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC), ending months of legal battles following last year’s polls.
The Supreme Court in its ruling at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia Wednesday, 11 August ordered the NEC to certificate Mr. Taylor of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) with full benefits and emoluments as if he were seated in January 2021.
“The merits of this case having been dismissed on appeal, Co – appellee, Simeon B. Taylor, is ordered forthwith certificated with full benefits and emoluments as if he were seated January 2021,” the court said.
In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court’s full bench of five Justices instructed the Clerk of Court to mandate the NEC to resume jurisdiction and give effect to the judgement.
The high court said Victor V. Watson, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) senatorial candidate, failed to establish proof of pre – marked ballots, forgery of signatures on the Senate Record of Count and the stopping of his poll watchers from entering the polling stations.
Regarding Watson’s contention that Taylor’s name appeared twice on the final voter registration roll (FRR), the Supreme Court also ruled that it is an offense under the New Elections Law of 1986 for a voter to register twice.
However, the court took into consideration the NEC’s admission in this case that the appearance of Mr. Taylor’s name on the Final Registration Rolls in Tahn and Lofa Bridge in Grand Cape Mount County was due to an error on the part of NEC.
It continued that there was no intent shown that Mr. Taylor registered twice for the purpose of voting twice, saying “we cannot impute any wrong doing to Co – appellee Simeon B. Taylor.”
The court indicated that it was established that Mr. Taylor only voted in Tahn in the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election, despite evidence that his name appeared twice on the FRRs.
Besides, the Supreme Court said that there is no evidence that individuals bearing the last name “Taylor” as found in the FRRs were family members of Mr. Taylor, the Senator – elect, and that they registered and voted twice in the December election.
It said even if such were the case, there is still no evidence that the alleged act was with the knowledge and consent of Mr. Taylor.