Vacancies created at the Houses of Senate and representatives as a result of the passing of two lawmakers, Montserrado County Senator, Geraldine Doe Sheriff and Montserrado County District 14 Representative Adolph Lawrence will be filled in during a by-elections scheduled for July 2, 2019.
Addressing a news conference yesterday, April 29, 2019, the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, the decision to hold the by-elections is in consonance with Article 37 of the 1986 Revised Constitution, which states: “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion, or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the elections commission thereof. The Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter, cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.
It is against this background, according to sources, that the NEC, hoping that the Speaker of the House of Representatives will, in short order, notify it of the vacancy in the House for Montserrado District #15, has tentatively prepared a budget of US$2.5 million for both the senatorial and representative by-elections, and have since submitted it to the government.
Additionally, the Commission through its election steering committee chaired by Commissioner Jonathan K. Weedor, has developed a timeline for the conduct of the two by-elections and a steering committee has been set up, pending receipt of the official communication from the Legislature.
Further, according to Korkoya, the steering committee will be responsible to recruit temporary staff for the exercise and provide adequate supervision before, during and after the July 2 polls.
About the key dates to the by-elections, Kokoya said the issuance of the writ of election will be done on May 3, 2019, while the accreditation of party agents, media and observers for the exercises will be carried out from May 3 to June 25, 2019.
“On May 6, the by-election regulations and guidelines will be published, while the nomination of candidates to contest will be done from May 6 to the 18, 2019,” he announced.
He said the civic voter education will be launched on May 10, while the notification to candidates for their acceptance or rejection will be carried out on May 19, 2019.
“The publication of provisional list of candidates will be done on May 19, and the replacement of lost and damaged voter registration (VR) cards will be done from the May 20 to 25, 2019,” Kokoya added.
He said the last day for decision on objections and claims; last day for candidates to appeal against rejection will be done on May 27 and 27 respectively. He pointed out that on June 4, the final listing of candidates will be published, while political campaign will run from June 4 to 30.
On July 2 is the by-elections day. Complaints from the by-elections will be heard as of the day of election, July 2 to 9, while the announcement of provisional results will begin on the July 4; and the announcement of results will be made on July 10, 2019.