NEC Addresses Election Issues -Says It Needs Additional Funding; Commends GOL for US$6m; -Confirms: Voter Roll Cleansing Process is ongoing

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The National Election Commission (NEC) need more support for the funding of the 2020 senatorial midterm election, although the commission has expressed appreciation to the government of Liberia for making available close to six million dollars for thee 13.5 million dollars proposed budget for the 2020 process.  NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah who addressed journalists last Friday says the Commission remains engaged with the authorities, as a matter of urgency, to provide the remaining 7.5 million dollars to enable the NEC pay its debts and to further prepare for the December 8th elections, noting that four data experts have been brought into the country already, and are supporting the Commission’s data center with cleaning of the voters’ roll; The Analyst Reports.

Mrs. Browne Lansanah also disclosed that the Commission has embarked on the recruitment and training of over 30 thousand temporary staff, saying that there is also the need for massive voter education and gender outreach activities across the country given the limitation of time for these activities.

The NEC Chairperson spoke when she addressed a press conference Friday, November 6, 2020, to formally announce the conclusion on the Voter Roll Update and Exhibition exercises. “We will also brief the Liberian people on the statues of the electoral process with emphasis on the voter roll cleansing exercise, the electoral cases that were pending before the Commission, arrival of election materials and electoral violence,” she commenced her media engagement.

End of VR Update

Madam Browne Lansanah used the conference to announce the closure of the voters roll update. “With the conclusion of the data entry process, we are pleased to announce the conclusion of the 2020 Voter Roll Update exercise.”

According to her, “we are also pleased to I inform the Liberian people that the Exhibition of the voter roll was concluded on October 31, 2020 as scheduled and results from that exercise are being processed by the Data Center.”

She said during the update exercise, a total of two hundred, ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and sixty-nine (299, 969) new registrants were captured nationwide. Of this number, one hundred, eighteen thousand, nine hundred and twenty-three, (118, 923) constituting 39.6 percent, are females, while one hundred eighty-one thousand forty-six, (181, 046) constituting 60.4 percent, are males.

“Let me be quick to note that these numbers are provisional and they are likely to change due to the ongoing voter roll cleaning exercise,” the NEC Chairperson clarified.

She said prior to the VRU exercise, the NEC Data Center had done a lot of work in furtherance of cleaning the 2017 voter roll and the total number of registered voters at the beginning of the VRU exercise stood at two million, one hundred, eighty-three thousand, three hundred eighty-one (2, 183, 381).

“With the inclusion of the additional Two Hundred Ninety-nine Thousand Nine Hundred sixty-nine (299, 969) new registrants, the total number of registered voters stands provisionally at Two Million, Four Hundred, Eighty-three Thousand, Three Hundred Fifty (2, 483, 350),” she averred.

The data cleaning

Speaking about the data cleaning exercise, Madam Lansanah who indicated NEC reported in its last press conference, that the Commission brought in four data experts to support the Data enter staff due to various interventions, noted that they were brought into the country pursuant to the Joint Resolution of the Honorable Legislature, instructing the NEC to further clean the Voter Roll, and in our quest as a Commission to maintain and further strengthen the integrity of the roll.

She further explained that it was also made possible through the NEC’s collaboration with the United National Development Program (UNDP) Election Support Project and the ECOWAS Commission,

“These data experts are currently providing support to the NEC Data Center staff in enhancing the quality of the voter roll for the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections; District # 9. Montserrado By-election; Sinoe County By-election for District # 2; and the Constitutional Referendum.

“The team has been working for two weeks now and has been providing preliminary briefings to political parties and other stakeholders on the status of thee voter roll and the work they, along with the NEC Data Center Team, are doing to get the voter roll ready for the December 8th elections,” she explained.

She disclosed that the UN and ECOWAS experts have given a lot of credit to the NEC Data Tem for the level of expertise and professionalism these Liberians have exhibited even prior to the arrival of the international data experts.

According to the NEC Chair, the Commission remains highly appreciative of the invaluable contributions that the United Nations and ECOWAS have made and continue to make in helping to sustain the democratic process in our nation.

On arrival of prepacked materials, the Commission announced that on Sunday, November 1, 2020, Unique Enterprise, a Liberian-owned company, delivered the prepacked materials for the December 8th elections (mainly stationary items).

“The arrival of these materials in the country followed the issuance of a “letter of no rejection” by the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) for the NEC to award the said contract to Unique Enterprise,” Madam Lansanah intimated.

Status of electoral cases

On the status of cases before the Commission, Madam Lansanah said after the publication of the provisional list of candidates for the 2020 Special Senatorial Elections, the NEC received two complaints.

“One [of the cases] concerned aspirant Alfred Segbe of Grand Kru County, while the other concerns aspirant Brownie J. Samukai of Lofa County. The complaint concerning Mr. Segbe was heard and denied at the level of the Commission [and no] appeal was taken, [but the] compliant concerning Mr. Samukai was heard and denied at the level of the Commission, [and an] appeal in this matter is pending before the Honorable Supreme Court.

Additionally, Madam Lansanah said the Commission received complaints from prospective aspirants whose names are not on the provisional list of candidates.

One of the complaints, she added, is from Mr. Mulbah Jackollie; and the other is from Mr. George B. Samah. “The Commission heard and denied their respective complaints. Not satisfied, each announced appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court,” she said.

The Commission, the NEC boss further stated, received one complaint from Mr. Jackson Morlu regarding the representative By-election for District # 9, Montserrdo County. NEC Chair Lansanah also pointed out that the Commission heard and denied his complaint, but Mr. Morlu announced appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court, adding however that the Commission did not receive any complaint concerning Sinoe County District # 2 By-election.

She also speaking on measures against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic to be applied during the electoral process, Mrs. Lansanah said the NEC will continue its collaboration with health authorities to ensure the protection of its staff and others against the Coronavirus disease.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we wish to use this medium to thank political parties, independent aspirants and their supporters for keeping the peace so far. As we approach December 8, we call on all political actors and stakeholders to conduct themselves in a manner that will keep our country stable at all times,” she cautioned against violence during the process  .

The NEC chairperson assures the Liberian people of its continued commitment to conduct these elections in a credible and transparent manner.

She then concluded her media engagement by thanking all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society, international partners, the media and the general Liberian public for their support to the electoral process.

“Many thanks and appreciation also go to NEC staff as well as temporary VRU staff for their services to this country. Let us continue to make these sacrifices for the betterment of our nation,” she added.

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