19 June 2017

Liberia: NEC Worries Sen. Taylor

Photo: NEC Liberia
The elections commission commenced the exhibition of the provisional voter roll on June 12 (file photo).

The Vice Standard Bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, has described as troubling and politically worrisome, the recently published provisional listing of registered eligible voters from the voter registration exercise by the National Elections Commission (NEC), which does not capture names of a significant number of eligible voters, who participated in the exercise.

She says this evidenced by public outcry across the country due to omission of names of registered voters from the voters' roll exhibition by NEC. Speaking in Gbarnga, Bong County over the weekend, Senator Taylor notes that while it is true that the current voters roll on display is provisional, the response of NEC to this grave situation is inadequate, evasive and unacceptable.

She is calling on the Commission to provide adequate clarification on its stated position that all eligible voters carrying voter registration cards would be allowed to vote on polling day without prior verification and validation as should be done during the voter roll exhibition process.

Senator Taylor warns that it would be a monumental error of judgment should NEC, which has the constitutional duty to ensure free, fair and transparent elections, would want to pursue a path which seemingly eliminates a critical component of the electoral process, which is the validation and verification of all registered voters through a voters roll exhibition exercise, prior to the determination of the total number of registered voters across the country.

The CDC deputy standard bearer says the Coalition recalls that during the voters registration exercise, a number of arrests were made of individuals allegedly producing voter's registration cards, outside the NEC system. Additionally, several non-Liberian citizens were also apprehended with voter's registration cards bearing their names.

All of these occurrences point to the urgent need for thorough voters roll exhibition process to provide an opportunity to cleanse the national voter's registry as one of the guarantees to free, fair and transparent elections in October.

Senator Taylor maintains that while the CDC supports the idea that all registered voters must be provided an opportunity to participate in the 2017 elections, it is absolutely imperative that the NEC rectifies the existing inadequacies, upgrade the current voters registry, with no cost to registered voters, and then carry out the exhibition process, as required to restore the credibility and integrity of the 2017 electoral process.

The Coalition for Democratic Change vice standard bearer therefore calls on the NEC to immediately correct the errors which have the propensity to engender confusion and misunderstanding in the electoral process.

The CDC calls on all stakeholders, including the National Elections Commission, to reaffirm their commitment to ensuring a free, fair and transparent electoral process based on rule of law, and consistent with the Farmington River Declaration.

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