11 October 2017

Liberia: Tension At Polling Center

Serious tension built up Tuesday, 10 October specifically at the William V.S. Tubman High School polling center in the 12th Street community, a Monrovia suburb where scores of voters protested over the absence of polling staffs in Precinct # 00343 to enable them cast their votes, threatening to halt the entire process at the center.

The protesting electorates explain Precinct # 00343 registered the first group of voters during the voter registration exercise, but unfortunately for them, every queue they entered with the cards to vote, there was no corresponding record from the National Elections Commission to indicate that they were suppose to cast their ballots there.

The disenchanted voters lament that they had gone to elect candidates of their choice only to be told by NEC polling staffs that the specific center they registered in could not be identified on the record.

Speaking to reporters, one registered voter, Mr. Joseph Kolleh, says the action by the NEC was delinquent, noting that the Commission should have put in place all necessary measures to avoid such embarrassment that could spark electoral violence. "Firstly, I think NEC should have all of the experience when it comes to election, but I think they are lacking some things, and these are things that have the ability to cause electoral violence and undermine the hard earned peace that Liberians are enjoying today", Joseph notes.

"If you are to conduct a national election, those essential things like the identification numbers of voters and polling places, among others are things that need attention, but the Election Commission has failed in that direction and this is what their failure have led us to", he laments.

According to him, if the NEC failed to listen or do something to address their concern, they would obstruct the entire process, because since they left their various houses, no one is paying attention to them, lamenting that what is so frustrating is "We saw our names on the board during the voters exhibition exercise, but only to come and our names and the center had disappeared."


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