In River Gee County Presidential runoff election shows low turnout

Ben Brooks, Elections Reporting Fellow /Internews/PAL/ River Gee County |

Liberians voted on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 in a low turnout but peaceful run-off election contested by incumbent president and a former international footballer, George Weah and former Vice-President Amb Joseph Boakai.

Early 5:30Am some voters in River Gee were seen standing in a queue at National Elections Commission polling  precinct  and places waiting hour to cast their ballot.

Our River Gee County reporter said the turnout of the Tuesday presidential run-off election was significantly lower than the October 10 first round of elections.

According to the declaration of preliminary tally results released for president and vice president run-off election conducted in the county which is in our possession, of the total of 98 polling places of 98, a total of 24,112 turnout to vote on November 14 presidential run-off election, while a total valid votes of 23,592 were declared and at the same time a total of 520 invalid votes across the county were recorded by the Magistrate offices of the National Elections Commission River Gee County.

With the total votes been consolidated from River Gee, President, George Weah leads with the highest number of votes of 18,906, while former Vice-President Amb Joseph Boakai obtained a total of 4,686 votes respectively.

During the Nov. 14 presidential run-off election, our reporter who visited several polling  precinct  in the 3 electoral districts of major and accessible areas spoke with some citizens and voters and asked them as to why the turnout was not too encouraging.

However, many voters have expressed dissatisfactions aim that the first round of the elections, they felt cheated saying that their candidate who they voted didn’t win, alleged elections fraud, while others said there was no transportations available at the time to take them to where they registered and voted during the first round of the elections.

“I am not going to vote because my candidate Joseph Boakai was cheated in the first round of the elections”. Look my brother, we that voted for the papay, we were plenty more than the number of votes the elections people announced for him from River Gee here. So I am not going to vote because anything we do, they will want to force George Weah in power for the second time”. Gabriel Doe alleged.

Also speaking, Mamie Dweh, age 26 also alleged that she noticed a little fraud in the representative candidate she supported in on October 10 general and presidential elections.

“Me I served as a poll watcher on October. 10 for my representative candidate and saw many of my partisans entered and voted in the polling room I was assigned in, but during counting of the ballot papers, many votes of him were declared invalid caused him not to win so this second round of voting today make me to lose confidence in NEC. So I am not going to vote, let them go ahead,  anybody win that Liberia win”. Marie Dweh of electoral district 2, River Gee concluded.

Speaking via a local radio, Voice of Rivergee in Fish-Town during an early morning hours of Let’s Talk River Gee, on November 14, 2023, a caller identified as Prince Karpeh from Monrovia alleged that he and four of his friends were truck by one of River Gee’s former senatorial candidate during the voter registration period in April 2023 of which they both obtained their voting cards but was unable to be transported by the same man according to him he told them that he never had any interest in the run-off since he lost the senatorial seat of the county.

It can be recalled that many eligible voters were transported or truck from one distinction to another by some former candidates and parties during  the biometric voters’ registration and first round of voting but could not come during the presidential run-off election due to lack of interest and perhaps fundings by people who transported them during the voter registration and first round of the elections though it is against the new election law of voters trucking during electoral period across the country.

Meanwhile, National Elections Commission temporary staff assigned as a voter identification officer (VIO) to polling precinct 42048 room number 3 in electoral al rial district 3, explained that the voting process was not low and slow as other perceived.

VIO Mark Toe said because it was one ballot paper issued to voter, make the November 14 runoff election easy and fast as compared to the first round.

“We didn’t experience low and slow turnout at this precinct assigned because it is 482 voters registered at this polling place 3 and almost 90 percent of the voters’ turnout to vote”. Toe added.

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