Concord Times (Freetown)

23 November 2012

Sierra Leone: NEC Urged to Investigate Alleged Malpractices

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has been urged by the National Elections Watch (NEW) to investigate alleged incidences of over-voting across the country.

In a press release issued on Tuesday November 20, the organization stated that they have received reports from its observers in polling stations across the country of incidences of over-voting.

They said even though the conduct of NEC officials on election day was generally judged to be good, cases of concern were noted which range from capacity-related problems, whereby officials of the Commission had insufficient knowledge of electoral procedures, to collusion in electoral fraud, thus urging NEC to investigate these cases and take the relevant action.

"With regards to irregularities in the process, NEW has received reports from its observers in polling stations across the country of incidences of over-voting. NEW urges NEC to investigate and take appropriate actions as soon as possible. The conduct of NEC officials on election day was generally judged to be good. However, cases of concern were noted: these range from capacity-related problems, whereby officials had insufficient knowledge of electoral procedures, to collusion in electoral fraud," the release stated.

The organization also noted the general absence of agents from political parties outside the two main parties during the reconciliation process at polling stations and tally centers and reminded all parties that the electoral process does not end with voting; rather, their engagement in all phases, including counting and tallying, is important to secure the integrity of a multiparty democratic process.

"NEW also commends the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for their response to issues that emerged over the course of the polling day. The efforts of civil society to develop a national elections strategy have been critical in the success of the 2012 electoral process at all stages."

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