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 NEC's Weekly Elections Update August 23rd, 2017

 “Elections Update”

My Fellow Commissioners

Partners of the Commission

Members of the Press

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I am pleased, on behalf of the Commission to welcome you to the “Elections Update” weekly press conference.  In today’s press conference, we will be providing information on the following:

  • Verification of Sample Ballot papers
  • Disposition of Objections and Complaints
  • Recruitment of Poll Workers
  • Electoral Disputes and Resolution training for Magistrates and Regional Coordinators
  • Launch of the CVE campaign

Verification of Sample Ballot papers

Consistent with the Commission’s tradition of transparency and inclusiveness, we are pleased to announce that the layout of ballots for the 2017 Elections are complete. The Commission therefore wishes to invite a representative each from political parties contesting these elections and independent candidates to come and verify the ballots. The verification exercise will focus on the names of candidates and the emblem of the political parties and   independent candidates that were submitted to the Commission at the nomination center. This exercise commences today and will end on Saturday, August 26, 2017. The Political Affairs Section will be open on the holiday to provide political parties and independent candidates the opportunity to verify the names of the candidates endorsed to the commission and the emblems of their institutions.

Disposition of Objections and Complaints

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, following the end of the Nomination Period, our Independent Hearing Office continues to hear objections and complaints emanating from the nominations.   

While the Commission is committed to respecting the due process right of every citizen, the Commission regrets to state that its efforts in this regard are being hindered by the failure of the parties to appear for hearing when cited. The Commission has made media publications calling on both complainants and respondents to come for hearing of their cases without any success.  The NEC wants to use this medium therefore to send out a final warning to both complainants and respondents of cases pending to come forth for hearing or the Commission will be left with no other option but to dismiss these cases, even if means the Commission has to do so sua sponte.

The below listed Complainants and Respondents are particularly urged to take note of the above and appear in keeping with citations already served:

  • YOUTH UNITED AGAINST ELECTORAL VIOLENCE versus MAXWELL GRISBY
  • CHESTER GRUANUE versus DAYNAH A. ZOE
  • OTHELLO JAROME versus DANIEL DEBOIS
  • DWEH WILSON versus PATRICK NYEPAN KPANNYEN, SAMPSON KLOH WILSON, KAYSIEH SMITH, CHRIS ALOYSIUS TEAH
  • MELVIN P. KELEEKAI versus COALITION FOR LIBERIA’S PROGRESS
  • SAMWAR S. FALLAH versus J. MELVIN COLE
  • AUGUSTINE JOHNSON versus PYNE WALLO
  • OMASCA DOE versus ALIOU V. BAH
  • DANIEL B. MULBAH versus J. MELVIN COLE

This reminder is a sufficient notice for your appearance.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you will recall that when we published the final list of candidates, we indicated that any candidate on the final list could be removed if the final disposition of a case in which he or she is involved so warranted. Pursuant to that pronouncement, the Board of Commissioners last week overturned the decision of the Candidate Nomination Committee to qualify Dr. Michael Slewon to contest in Electoral District #9, Nimba County.

The Commission’s decision to deny Dr. Slewon’s nomination application was based amongst others on misinformation provided in his nomination application to the effect that he was not a presidential appointee, when the evidence presented revealed the contrary. Accordingly, his name has been ordered removed from the final list of candidates for the October 10 Elections.

Recruitment Poll Workers

Members of the press, given the importance that the Commission attaches to the October 10 Elections, I am pleased to inform you that a special committee has been constituted by the Board of Commissioners to formulate additional procedures and standards for recruitment of temporary staff including Electoral Supervisors and polling staffs. The focus of this committee in the formulation of the standards and procedures will be on the doctrine of independence, commitment, integrity and professionalism.

A total of 28,367 competent poll staffs including Presiding Officers (PO), Voter Identification Officers (VIO), Ballot Paper Issuers (BPI), Ballot Box Controllers (BBC)/Inkers and Queue Controllers (QC) are expected to be recruited.

*Electoral Disputes and Resolution Training for Magistrates and Regional Coordinators

In an effort to adequately prepare for disputes that may come up following these elections, the Commission, with support from the UNDP, on yesterday, August 22, 2017, commenced a weeklong training to refresh the memory of regional coordinators and magistrates on Elections Hearing and Operational issues.

Also on yesterday, the Commission with support from UNMIL conducted a one day training of political parties’ legal counsels on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The Commission is grateful to the UNMIL and other partners for their help in positioning stakeholders to actively participate in the Elections.

These lines of training will be followed by a training at the first line of a cascade training for party/candidate agents. It is expected that trainees from the first round of training will replicate the training in their institutions. We wish to extend thanks to NDI for their support towards this training.

Reaching amicable resolution to problems arising from elections has become a matter of urgency as we move closer to the October elections and even after the elections are over. It is in the interest of the commission to prepare its regional coordinators and magistrates, as well as political parties’ legal practitioners to handle election disputes, including record keeping in their localities accurately.

CVE Campaign Launch

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to report that on Friday August 18, the Commission successfully launched the Civic/Voter Education Campaign for the 2017 Elections. The launch of the CVE campaign sets in motion the awareness activities for the 2017 Elections. The Commission wishes to call on all Liberians including civil society organizations, members of the press, religious leaders, traditional leaders and political parties to join the Commission in disseminating CVE messages across the country.

The Commission has recruited and deployed 436 civic educators and 219 gender mobilizers across the country for a period of two months to carry out door to door outreach as well as face to face interactions with community dwellers. We ask that you cooperate with our mobilizers whenever they appear in your community.

Closing

Thank you all for helping the Commission make the 2017 Elections a success.



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