Election Update, Press Statement by NEC Chairperson Lansanah
August 4, 2020
Press Statement by Hon. Davidetta Browne Lansanah
Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC)
On the Update of the 2020 SSE and Constitutional Referendum
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you, on behalf of the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission, to this Press Conference at the Headquarters of the NEC. This function is meant to give an update on the ensuing 2020 Special Senatorial Election (SSE) and the Constitutional Referendum.
Before I go further, let me formally introduce my colleagues, since this is the maiden meeting of the new Board of Commissioners and the Press:
Commissioner Josephine Kou Gaye;
Commissioner Barsee Leo Kpangbai;
Commissioner Floyd Oxley Sayor;
Commissioner Ernestine Morgan-Awar; and
Commissioner Boakai A. Dukuly
- Ladies and gentlemen of the press, in early May 2020, the Commission wrote the Executive and Legislative branches of the Government, advising of the unfeasibility of holding the elections on October 13th, and requested the National Legislature to set a new date within December of this year for the holding of the elections.
- Today, we are pleased to officially inform you that the Legislature has, in Joint Resolution #003/2020, set December 8, 2020 as the new date for the conduct of the elections. The constitutional Referendum will also be held the same date.
- With the new date, the Commission has readjusted the Timeline of activities, particularly the Key Dates and same are being shared with political parties and other stakeholders. We will also give you copies instantly following this update on the Special Senatorial Election.
- The Commission will carry out civic and voter education on the principles of the VRU. Some core objectives of the VRU are to ensure that Liberians who have reached the age of 18 and qualified under the laws of Liberia are captured on the Roll. Also, Liberians who did not register in 2017 during the nationwide voter registration will have the chance to be captured on the Roll.
- As per our Timeline and considering the relevance of the Fourth Estate, we will conduct a workshop for the media on the principles of the VRU.
Operations (Preparatory activities ahead of VRU)
- For the purpose of the 2020 SSE, the Commission will carry out a Voter Roll Update (VRU). As part of the Key Dates, the VRU, under the circumstance will last for two weeks, from September 1-15, 2020.
- The VRU process will be mobile; meaning the Commission’s Team of Registrars will move in sequence from one Center to another, covering the 2080 registration Centers across the Country. Each Team will comprise a Registrar, Clerk, Shader, and Photographer. Each Team will cover a maximum of four Centers. A Team will be led by a Supervisor, and each Team will stay three days at each location.
- We have completed assessment of all 2080 Precincts or voting Centers throughout the Country. This is a cardinal preparatory requirement to the entire election process. We have made the necessary changes and approval of the Centers for the conduct of the mobile registration.
- Let me emphasize that some of the structures used as Centers during the 2017 registration have been changed and renamed. However, as per our normal procedure, the new Centers are within the same localities. The Commission will duly inform citizens of the 2080 registration Centers to be used during this 2020 VRU.
- Our Training Section has completed the development of the VRU Training Procedures Manual. Importantly, the current Manual captures all necessary Coronavirus Health Protocols, as mandated by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and ECOWAS. This has paved the way for the training of thousands of temporary election staffs across the Country.
- Prior to the Outbreak of the Coronavirus, we, along with UNDP, oversaw a dialogue whereby the Political Parties deliberated and finalized the Political Parties Code of Conduct. We look forward to doing same for the Media before the start of the VRU. We have also completed the inspection of Political Parties Headquarters.
- The Commission is on course with local and international procurement. Currently, a Printing and Publishing International Vendor, AlGhurair, has shipped from Dubai the Optimal Mark Recognition Forms (OMR forms), which are used for capturing of registrants’ data during the Voter Roll Update.
- A local Vendor, Unique Enterprise has procured Data Processing Equipment, including Laptops, for our Data Center. Three brand new Servers have been procured, delivered, and installed in our Data Center where we store data captured during the Voter Roll Update.
- Let me also report that the UNDP, with support from the Swedish Embassy, a few weeks ago donated Information Communication and Technology (ICT) materials including 72 Batteries for the Server Battery Bank, Security Locks, and National Access Storage (NAS). The items also included Air conditioners (24,000 and 12, 000 BTU). All of which prepare our Data Center ahead the Voter Roll Update and the polls.
Candidates Nomination Period
- The nomination period for aspirants intending to contest the SSE will run from September 1 thru 21, 2020.
SSE and Referendum Campaign Period
- The campaign period for both the SSE and Referendum will start October 10, and end on December 6, 2020.
- Finally, we want to recognize the efforts of our major stakeholders the 28 registered political parties for their continued engagement within and outside of the Inter-Party Consultative Committee (IPCC). We are assured that going forward we will sustain these ties for the common good of our Country. We also extend a debt of gratitude to our international partners including UNDP, Iris Aid/Iris Embassy, Sweden, Canada, EU, US Embassy and others, towards the conduct of these elections. We also recognize the effort of the diplomatic community and their continued support in ensuring that these elections are held as scheduled. We will continue to rely on your moral and material support.
- We also recognize the intervention and collaboration of both the Legislative and Executive branches of the Government for providing a new date, December 8, 2020 to conduct the elections. To date, the Commission has received a combined total of US$2,000,786.00, comprising of US$1,200,471.60 and L$158,887,373.59.
- We are pleased to inform you that, consistent with counts 4&5 of the Joint Resolution #003/2020, the Commission will today launch the review/cleanup process of the 2017 FRR.
- AS we approach the September 1-15, 2020 Voter Roll Update, the Commission assures you that the staff continues to work assiduously to rollout planned activities for the update and the SSE and Referendum. The Commission remains committed to conducting free, transparent, fair and credible VRU, SSE and Referendum.
- Thank you.