NEC chairman Jerome George Korkoya
The National Elections Commission (NEC) said it has denied Reverend Kennedy G. Sandy, standard bearer of the Liberia Transformation Party (LTP), the chance to withdraw from the ensuing presidential race.
Rev. Sandy early this week wrote the NEC asking for consideration so he could step aside from participating in the upcoming October presidential race on grounds that he has not been actively involved in politics since he got job with the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) nearly two years ago.
At the sixth edition of the NEC's regular weekly elections update in Monrovia, the chairman Jerome G. Korkoya said, "Pursuant to the Elections Law, withdrawal is not permitted at this point, because this is in line with Section 4.7 (a) where the candidates have been notified accordingly."
Liberia Transformation Party standard bearer, Rev. Kennedy Sandy
He said Rev. Sandy expressed regret for not notifying the Commission early in time, but begged for consideration so as to allow him focus on other issues as well as solicit help on behalf of the LTP's representative candidates on the campaign trail.
On other issues, Korkoya said, "In line with the legal timetable and provisions set out in chapter 3 of the Elections Law, the NEC has completed the final voter registration roll."
"As required by section 3.19 of this law, no further changes will be made to the register unless ordered by the Supreme Court. The Voter Register has been printed and distributed," Korkoya noted.
He added that the voter roll will be available in all magistrates' offices in the 15 counties, and that the electronic copy is available for all political parties at the NEC headquarters.
He pointed out that quality control measures have been put in place to check the printing of the register.
"All the original forms have been checked against the entries in the database for the entire country. All of the 2.1 million forms were checked," he said.
He said the final register contains 2,183,629 voters, noting further that, "A comprehensive set of integrity checks were made on the register and De-duplication process conducted in advance of its release."
"In total, there were 4,567 (0.21 percent) incidents of duplication identified and corrected following appropriate examination. Of this, small number of cases were discovered from where a voter has registered twice," he said, adding that there are special cases, which include the more than two times registration of 206 persons during the voter registration, and 30 individuals were identified for registering more than four times.
He assured the public that the details of the two cases will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for further investigation, and if necessary, appropriate actions will be taken.
Concerning the replacement of lost and destroyed voter cards, Korkoya said 4,621 entries were made consistent with the NEC's commitment made at the start of June, this year to include any person that was identified as not being on the preliminary register that should have been there.
He reported that there are four persons, all women over the age of 100, who have registered to vote. "Three of these are registered in Montserrado and one is in Grand Cape Mount County. And I would especially like to congratulate these distinguished citizens and voters," Korkoya said.
He expressed that with the exception of the nine political parties that have complied with the NEC by submitting their audited accounts and all other legally required items, including the declaration of assets before the October 10 elections, the rest are yet comply with the commission.
"In respect to the requirement of political parties to submit accounts, statement of assets and liabilities pursuant to Article 83(d) of the Constitution and Chapter 7 of the Elections Law, the NEC has not received these from all political parties. Based on the deliberations of the Board of Commissioners, appropriate actions will be taken against political parties that fail to comply with the legally accepted system," Korkoya said.
"The NEC, meanwhile called on all political parties and individuals across the country to be responsible as they go about making statements and acting according to what they think during the electoral period. Claiming that the only way it is possible to lose this election is through electoral fraud is simply irresponsible."
It can be recalled that Benoni Urey, the political leader of the All Liberian Party recently said that the only way he could lose the ensuing elections is when there are electoral frauds committed by the NEC.
However, Korkoya told journalists at the press conference yesterday that nobody wants this campaign to be full of rumors and speculations. "We all have a duty to ensure voters are properly informed but this duty cannot be served by irresponsible claims," he said. "Absolutely this Commission will not tolerate any fraud in these elections and even beyond. We assure you that this is not possible, because the electoral system we have is transparent and open. We are committed to good principles and will surely do our best to serve our country without malpractices as speculated by some citizens and political parties."