NEC Says One Million Ballots Arrive For Montserrado By-Elections, Declares ‘No Replacement Of Voter Cards Going On’
Electoral body National Elections Commission (NEC) says the full consignment of 1,046,100 ballot papers has arrived in Liberia for both the Representative and Senatorial by-elections.
The vote was earlier scheduled for July 8, but later pushed to a date yet to be announced by the commission.
The postponement was based on “technical and operational reasons” motivated by “professional considerations,” the electoral body said.
Of the total pre-packed election kits, 993,850 ballot papers will be used for the senatorial by-election, and 52,250, for the District Number 15 poll, according to NEC.
The consignment, which includes tactile ballot guides, forms, and record of the counts, was brought in last weekend via the Roberts International Airport and received by authorities of the Commission, along with the Liberia National Police.
NEC says the materials were then taken to a secure location under the ‘maximum’ protection of the police.
The delay in the arrival of the necessary voting materials was widely believed to have caused the postponement of the by-election.
Now, all eyes are on the commission to announce a new date for the politically-charged by-elections.
Notwithstanding, the electoral body says it is currently training poll workers at various locations in Montserrado in spite of the postponement, and renewed its commitment to conduct free, fair, transparent, and credible by-elections.
The by-elections were prompted by the deaths of Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, who succumbed to cancer, and Representative Adolph Lawrence killed in a tragic car crash along the Robertsfield highway.
In a related development, NEC says claim by some politicians that the National Elections Commission (NEC) was continuing to replace missing and damaged voters’ cards at its national headquarters is untrue, the commission has said.
In recent days a wave of accusation has inundated local radio airwaves and social media platforms that NEC was “unlawfully” replacing damaged/missing voter cards.
The electoral commission insists the allegation is far from reality, adding: “There is no replacement of missing or damaged voters’ cards going on at any of our offices.”
“The Commission says replacement of voters’ cards for the 2019 Montserrado by-elections ended since June 27.”
The initial deadline for replacement of voting cards was on June 25, but due to government’s intervention to shoulder the cost of reproducing missing and damaged voting cards as per law, the Commission added a two-day grace period.
Meanwhile, NEC says voters who might have issues with their cards can sort the problem out after the pending Montserrado County by-elections, “as the process of replacement is closed.”