Poor Turnout Hits Presidential Runoff Election in Bong County

By: J. Peter S. Dennis | dennisrealone@gmail.com|

So far, there’s a reported low turned out across electoral district#1 in Bong County. Polling places were setup in time and opened exactly 8AM with few voters in the queues.

No major violence has been reported thus far since polling began as state security officers were present to handle any eventuality.

According to the National Elections Commission, there are over 2.4 million registered voters.

The runoff election was necessitated based on the two top candidates’ failure to obtain 50% plus one ballot to be declared as winner on October 10.

On 10th October 2023, incumbent President George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) garnered 804,087 votes constituting 43.83% while his main rival Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party obtained 796,961 votes constituting 43.44% of the total valid votes, according to an NEC data.

Article 83 B of the revised constitution of Liberia says “all elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes casts. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the runoff election”.

Many of the few voters who turned out branded the electoral process as peaceful while encouraging others to turnout and vote.

Lorpu Kpanakue, 39, a voter in Green Hill Quarry said “the process is going smooth as I can see, but the voters aren’t many in the queues as compared to October 10. I’m encouraging others to participate as any decision taken will be obeyed for the next six (6) years”.

Prince T. Kollie, 21, feels the (process is fast because many people aren’t in the queues. I haven’t witnessed any violence since I came; it means people are following the different peace messages on and off the radio”.

Mary Kollie, 40, a voter in Palala polling place #2 wants Liberians maintain the peace after the election.

Yassah T. Togbah, a voter in U-Lah, Bosien district encouraged other females to participate stressing that their votes are the future.

Abaku Gboveh, Presiding Officer assigned in Zorwienta, Kpaai district stated “few people are coming, but not compared to the October 10 elections. We did the set-up yesterday and for today, we started the voting process on time”.

Abraham Teah, another presiding officer assigned in Green Hill Quarry polling place #1 confirmed a low turnout, but was optimistic of more voters later.

Caroline Nyan, VIO assigned in Baila, Kpaai district who also confirmed a low voters’ turnout maintained that preferences are given to People Living with Disabilities (PwDs) and the elderly to cast their ballots.

“People Living with Disabilities including elderly people will be given special preference to vote” Madam Davidetta Browne-Lassana, NEC Chairperson stressed in a recent release to the Commission’s temporary staff.

According to the NEC, over 1.9 million people turned out to vote on October 10.

Meanwhile, an official of the embassy of Sweden accredited to Liberia, Johan Romari has called on Liberians to be more peaceful during the ongoing runoff election in Liberia.

 

At the same time, former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has commended Liberians for their commitment to democracy in the presidential runoff election.

She praised the citizens for their dedication to exercising their right to vote in a broad and peaceful manner, reinforcing Liberia’s aspiration to become a beacon of peaceful citizen-center, democratic governance in the region.

The former U.S. Ambassador emphasized the importance of accountability in the electoral process and issued a stern warning against any attempts to undermine it through fraud, violence, or intimidation.

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