Liberia: NEC Investigates Three of Its Elections Magistrates From Bomi, Grand Cape-Mount, and Grand Gedeh Counties

Monrovia — Three magistrates of the National Elections Commission assigned in Bomi, Grand Gedeh and Grand Cape Mount counties are likely to undergo probe by the election body, even though NEC has remained tightlipped on details surrounding the investigations.

NEC's chairperson Davidetta Brown-Lassanah told journalists Tuesday, September 22 that details of the investigation will be released to the public following what she termed as 'administrative consultations'.

"We have instituted administrative measures in terms of consultations with the three magistrates under the authority given to us by the new elections law and when we are done with our investigation and consultancy with them we will come back to you," she said.

FrontPageAfrica has gathered that magistrates Luther Dean of Bomi, Arthur Z. Y. Duogee of Grand Gedeh and David Armah of Cape Mount counties are being investigated for comments or acts that are in contrast to their Term of Reference (TOR).

Dean had earlier confirmed that voters trucking was taking place in Bomi county, but failed to mention those involved in the process. Dean, FrontPage Africa has gathered, was reportedly quoted as saying that there was no law against voter trucking.

Armah, on the other hand, is being accused of being involved in voter trucking on behalf of a politician who is an senatorial aspirant in the county..

There have also been allegations that staffs of NEC assigned in the county have moved into neighboring Sierra Leone to carry out the voter roll update process, though these allegations are yet to be verified by FrontPage Africa.

Terming trucking "criminal" and prohibited under the New Elections Law of Liberia Chapter 10.1(a), Brown-Lassanah said such act is punishable under the law by a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

"While the NEC is not clothed with authority to impose criminal penalties, the Commission frowns on the trucking of citizens for political purpose, and calls on all involved in this practice to immediately desist," she said.

"Let it be known that a person who is trucked to another area is also in violation of Chapter 3 of the New Elections Law, which states that a person must register to vote in the area where he or she ordinarily resides. If established, consistent with due process of law, that a person was trucked in this regard, his or her name will be removed from the voter roll and turned over to the Ministry of Justice for further action.

Multiple voter registrations

Speaking on complaints of multiple registrations by individuals, she described as criminal anyone who will be engage in multiple registrations. She added: "The NEC is in contact with the Ministry of Justice to prosecute people involved in double registrations," she added.

In a bid to put into place measures to remedy double registrations, NEC said it will conduct a de-duplication exercise to identify multiple registrants. "An application was developed and inserted into the voter registration software by our international partners that enables data analysts at the Data Center to capture multiple/duplicate voters in our system," NEC chairperson said.

NEC, through its chairperson, also revealed that the first registration record of a registered voter would kept on the Final Registration Roll, (FRR), except where the voter legally transferred to a new voting location and the first record is deleted.

And that the second and/or any other registration done by that same individual is considered 'Excluded Duplicate Voter'; this list is usually printed and attached at the back of the FRR for polling staff reference on Election Day and copy is given to Ministry of Justice for prosecution.

Addition, there will also be a period of exhibition of the Voter Roll for citizens to contest illegal registrants (non-citizens, non-residents, and multiple registrants).

Vetting Of Referendum Symbols

In a related elections report, the NEC says it has vetted the three symbols by stakeholders and the Board of Commissioners (BOC) has approved them for printing and posting through the 19 magisterial areas across Liberia. The symbols will be subjects of nation-wide voter education for the Referendum.

Constitutional Referendum is expected to be held along with the Special Senatorial Elections on December 8, 2020. The three propositions for the Referendum will be represented by symbols.

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