The National Elections Commission (NEC) has disclosed that 1,046,888 eligible Liberians have registered since the launch of the 2017 voter registration exercise on February 1.
This figure is part of a total of 2,552,000 forms deployed at the 19 magisterial offices across the country.
This, according to NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya, means that 1,505,112 forms are still being processed in the field.
“We currently have a buffer of 1,300,000 forms packed to be deployed if and when the demand arises,” he said.
He told a news conference at the commission’s headquarters in the Monrovia suburb of Sinkor Monday that the forms returned to headquarters are being scanned to be placed in the Commission’s database.
Korkoya has, however, noted that given the number of registrants reported since the registration process started nearly four weeks ago, citizens’ turnout at registration centers “is not very encouraging.”
“We encourage every eligible Liberian to take advantage of the remaining days for the voter registration exercise to register,” he pointed out.
The NEC Chairman warned that citizens should not sit at home expecting that the time will be extended when the official time is being utilized, adding that “extension of time will be contingent on the availability of funding and demand.”
In a related development, the National Elections Commission (NEC) offices in Bong County have reported that 166,818 citizens have so far registered in the ongoing voter registration process in the county.
NEC lower Bong County office in Totota reported 61,669 registrants, while the upper Bong office in Gbarnga recorded 75,149 registrants.
The NEC lower Bong County office in Totota covers Suakoko, Yellequelleh, Salala, Sanoyea and Fuamah Districts, while the upper office in Gbarnga covers Jorquelleh 1&2, Kpaii, Kokoyah, Boisen, Togbalee, Panta and Zota Districts as well as Menquelleh Clan.
Speaking to the Liberia News Agency, lower Bong County Senior Elections Magistrate Barsee Kpaingbai said all of the ninety-five centers in the five districts remain open, even though some are nearing the benchmark of 3,000 registrants.
Kpaingbai told LINA that Electoral Districts 5 and 7 are currently reporting the highest number of registrants in lower Bong County, adding that there are massive turnouts at centers around the St. Paul River in Fuamah District.
At the same time, the NEC senior magistrate in Gbarnga, Daniel Newland, has told the Liberia News Agency that five centers in Electoral District Three in the Gbarnga area have been closed after each of them met the benchmark of registering 3,000 eligible voters.
Newland named the centers as the David Kuyoun Sports Stadium, Gboveh High School, William V.S. Tubman Grey United Methodist School, Wohn-A-Nehn and the Sunday Market in Gbarnga.
He said centers at John F. Bakalu, Melekie, Gbaota, Winsue and Gbelekpalai, among others, remain open in electoral District Three.
Meanwhile, the two NEC magistrates have encouraged residents and citizens of the county who have not registered to turnout for the process to ensure their participation in the October 2017 elections.
The Liberia Institute for Geo-Information Services 2008 Population Census indicates that Bong County is the third most populated county in Liberia with a population of over 350,000 residents.
In line with the LIGIS 2008 report, the National Elections Commission has set a target to register 210,000 eligible voters in Bong County.
Of that number, the NEC office in Totota is to register 100,000, while the office in Gbarnga has 110,000 eligible voters to register.
The NEC added 26 new voter registration centers to the existing 155 centers in the county before the start of the voter registration exercise, increasing the number to 181 centers in Bong County.
In 2011, the Commission registered more than 150,000 eligible voters in Bong County.