15 November 2017

Liberia: UP Requests for Time

The Executive Director of National Elections Commission (NEC), Lamie Lighe has admitted to the investigative hearing that the ballot papers used during the October 10, 2017 elections never carried serial number because of secrecy principal, instead there were serial numbers placed on the ballot stacks.

As though a drama was unfolding, Cllr. Varney Sherman requested the Subpoena witness (Lighe), an executive of the commission to produce a used ballot paper of a presidential and representative candidate for which a mark of identification and conformation was placed on it to be used during the investigation as evidence.

The NEC ballot expert indicated that the stack is placed in the box and he had to open it and check the serial number. Suddenly, after few minutes the serial number was read on the ballot stack.

He was again quizzed by Cllr. Sherman to ascertain whether generally a serial number of a ballot is placed both on the stack and the ballot paper. The NEC ballot expert noted that it is far from the truth, explaining furthered he said, "If you place the serial number on the ballot it violates the principal of secrecy as prescribe by the constitution."

Furthermore, he said if you place the serial number of the ballot on the ballot paper the presiding officer who issues the ballot paper will know the serial number, and if they are counting the vote the presiding officer can identify the ballot paper and identify who someone voted for.

The UP's legal team was also given the final voter roll (FFR) on a hard drive to ascertain whether it was the same as the one issued before October 10,2107 to all political parties. They went through hours of fact finding and requested for additional time.

It can be recalled that the hearing officer commenced hearing into Liberty Party's complaint on October 27, 2017 and the Liberty Party took the stand and rested with production of oral and documentary evidence on October 28, 2017. On the same day the Unity Party filed an interveners' complaint along with a motion to intervene in the said case, naming NEC as first respondent and Liberty Party as second respondent that has affirmed to all LP's claimed.


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