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 Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya Press Statement October 25th, 2017

Press Statement

Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya

Chairman, National Elections Commission

 

  1. Welcome to this weekly press conference and update on preparations for the November 7, 2017 presidential runoff elections.
  1. I want to highlight and respond to arising issues including:
  1. Delivery of elections materials and ballot papers;
  2. Measures taken to alleviate the crowding at polling places;
  3. Recounts, complaints and appeals;
  4. Campaign and political party issues arising.

Delivery of election material

  1. Electoral preparations are on track.
  1. Presidential ballot papers for the runoff elections are tentatively scheduled to arrive in Liberia on October 28, 2017. Mock ballots for training purposes have already arrived in the warehouse facilities. All ballots are being produced by the same supplier that printed ballots for the first round of elections.
  1. Staff have completed packing non-sensitive elections materials at our warehousing facilities. And these materials are being delivered to counties presently. Security is in place at all levels.

Measures that will be taken to improve the flows of voters at polling places

  1. In response to the congestion at polling places and in some cases slow processing times experienced during election day, the National Elections Commission has decided to introduce the following measures among others:
  • Additional queue controllers will be employed and trained for the runoff. We especially appeal to those with strong numerical skills, including university students, to apply.
  • Voters will be requested to return to the polling places or rooms where they voted on the October 10, 2017.
  • In precincts with three or higher polling places, the National Elections Commission will post relevant parts of the voter register index on the wall or entrance of each polling place for the voters to locate their details.
  • Where possible the commission will also have an offline version of the relevant parts of the voter register available to key polling staff to check details. The online system will continue to be available.

A final provision will be the support from NEC call centre to assist voters check their details by telephone where necessary.

Recounts, complaints and appeals

  1. A recount will be conducted in Electoral District number 8, Nimba County in respect to the House of Representatives elections. This is due to the fact that the difference in votes between the two leading candidates was only 19 and under the rules such difference triggers automatic recount.
  1. So far a total of 56 election-related complaints were submitted to the National Elections Commission. Of these, 54 were filed at magistrates’ offices. Thirty three of these cases have been concluded or have led to further appeals to the BOC.
  1. Hearing has commenced into the complaint of the All Liberian Party (ALP) challenging the conduct of the presidential elections.
  1. On 23 October 2017 the Liberty Party also submitted a complaint to the National Elections Commission. It is petitioning for a re-run of the 10 October 2017 election and a suspension of the planned second round runoff election on 7 November 2017.
  1. All these complaints are being handled according to due process and in a transparent and open manner by the magistrates and hearings office.

Campaign and political party issues

  1. Political Parties are encouraged to be represented at all polling places. The National Elections Commission reminds political parties that they need to train their agents thoroughly in their role at polling places. They are not there to interfere with the process. And if there is a complaint, make sure it is understood the agents should make that complaint at polling place level and collect the evidence required for a thorough complaint to be submitted.
  1. The National Elections Commission would like to remind every Liberian citizen, political parties and their supporters to act with responsibility. There is no place in an election for threatening words or behaviour. A direct threat to the commissioners by someone on social media has been reported to the authorities. This type of behaviour is not acceptable.
  1. We call on the media to reinforce their efforts to separate news and opinion in their reporting of the elections. Unfounded claims are not helpful to the election process and the National Elections Commission calls on journalists to check facts before publication and if required contact our press department for information on an issue so the full story can be published.

Closing

  1. More updates will be made as our preparations progress.


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