Liberian Political Parties recommend US$24M to Introduce Bio-metric Electronic Voting Cards

{By Eldred Thomas/GNN Senior Reporter}

{L/R} George Weah;CDC, Benoni Urey; ALP, Charles Brumskine; LP, Alex Tyler; LPDP, Simeon Freeman; MPC, Mills Jones; MOVEE, Alex Cummings; ANC and Prince Y. Johnson; NDR
{L/R} George Weah;CDC, Benoni Urey; ALP, Charles Brumskine; LP, Alex Tyler; LPDP, Simeon Freeman; MPC, Mills Jones; MOVEE, Alex Cummings; ANC and Prince Y. Johnson; NDR

Ahead of Liberia’s mush talked about 2017 general and presidential elections, leaders of registered of over 22 Political parties in Liberia have resolved to submit to the Liberian Senate a recommendation requesting the allocation of 24 Million United States dollars for the introduction of a Bio- metric electronic voting system to be used during the 2017 elections.

According to a communication dated Thursday August 4, 2015 and sent to the Liberian Senate, the allocation of said money will ensure that an individual will not be able register twice during the process  thereby, putting to an end of voters being in possession of two voters’ registration card.

Leaders of the registered political parties said if such amount is provided to the National Elections Commission in the 2016/2017 draft budget for the introduction of Bio-metric electronic voting cards, it will guarantee transparency in the 2017 elections.

The communication read by the Senate Assistant Secretary Geneve Massaquoi indicated that the decision was reached at an Inter party Consultative Meeting in 2014 in which it observed that double voter registration took place during the 2005 and 2011 elections respectively.

The parties in their communication also noted that they have agreed in principal and informed the National Elections Commission that a Bio metric electronic voting system be introduced in the pending 2017 polls.

The political parties in the communication recalled that in June 2016, the National Elections Commission indicated that government had informed it that there was no funding for bio metric voters’ card neither had it identify any national or international partners that are willing to support this new process.

The Commission also informed political parties that the difference in cost between the old voter registration cards to start the process for and the new process is fourteen million United States dollars the old voting cards to bio-metric electronic voting cards.

 “We as stakeholders in the electoral process, we foresee serous risk in the old process that could lead to electoral conflict,” the political parties leaders noted in their communication.

They pleaded with the Legislature to timely intervene in the spirit and interest of protecting the young democracy by approving the 24 million United States dollars to ensure a smooth, free, fair and transparent electoral process come 2017.

The communication while soliciting and anticipating the speedy intervention of the lawmakers, also requested a meeting to further discuss the matter as it borders on sustaining and peace and democracy.

Those who signed for their respective political institutions include Nathanial McGill, Congress for Democratic Change, Jacob Smith Liberty Party, Theodore Momo, All Liberian Party, James Biney, and National Patriotic Party.

Other are Moses Kollie, Liberia People Democratic Party, John Ballon, Movement for Progressive Change, Richard Panton, Movement for Economic Empowerment, Joseph Karley of the Alternative National Congress and Wilfred Bangura for the NDR.

Meanwhile, a motion was filed by Sinoe County Senator Milton Teahjay to accept the communication after which it was forwarded to the Committees on Ways Means and Finance including Judiciary to report in two weeks.

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About Cholo Brooks 16878 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.