MONROVIA: Amid public apprehension questioning the ability and credibility of the current bench of the National Election Commission (NEC) to ensuring the smooth conduct of the ensuing October 10, 2023 presidential and legislative elections, NEC Chairperson Madam Davidetta Brown Lansana has fully committed the election governing body to conducting the pending elections in a transparent and credible manner.
Cllr. Lansana, who was giving an update of the progress made towards the 2023 political process of Liberia told a press conference held yesterday at the James M. Fromayan Conference Hall at the Headquarters of the NEC, assures the country activities leading to a successful conduct of the October 10, 2023 General Elections remain on course.
Accordingly, she announced the arrival of total of some 10, 125,820 ballot papers covering 3,320,500 presidential papers, 3,402,122 senatorial ballots papers and 3,403,208 representative ballots papers respectively and noted that the ballots are currently in secured storage under protection of state securities.
Deployment of ballot papers and other sensitive and non-sensitive elections materials to the 19 magistrate offices in the 15 counties for onward distribution to the 2,080 voting precincts nationwide, Madam Lansana indicated, will commence in the next few days.
The NEC Chairperson, amongst other things pointed out the arrival into the country of logistical materials including ballot boxes, precinct kits, tactile ballot guides, indelible ink and assorted stationeries; the packaging of materials for 5,890 polling places which she said began two weeks ago, and the accreditation of the total of 6, 643 elections observers as of September 21, 2023 including 662 international observers and 5,981 local observers who show huge interest in then elections.
Madam Lansana further indicated that printing of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) began some 10 days ago and is in progress, adding that NEC staff are working day and night to ensure that materials are deployed in time for the elections, especially giving challenges with delivery of those materials to some parts of the country.
“Meanwhile, in addition to the ongoing procurement process for land transport vehicles, the NEC has put in a procurement process for additional transportation means to convey electoral material throughout the country,” Cllr. Lansana disclosed.
Concerning the availability of the FRR to political parties, the NEC Chairperson reiterated, “The Final Registration Roll for the 2023 elections will be made available to all political parties, independent candidates and other stakeholders upon completion of the ongoing process to secure the data.
“As per the law, the list of precincts was published on 11 September 2023. Additionally, to make the process more transparent, as has been done in the past, the Final Registration Roll is being printed to be pasted at the 2,080 precincts across the country prior to Election Day,” she said.
She noted the recruitment by NEC 79 electoral district coordinators, 382 electoral supervisors and 20,812 polling staff; and added that in the meantime that NEC training section has concluded the training of magisterial staff who are now training electoral district coordinators and electoral supervisors who withen train the polling staff.
She intimated that the commission, in collaboration with partners, has drawn up appropriate strategies to provide civic and voters’ education, and further disclosed that with the assistance of the UNDP Liberia Electoral Support Project, NEC has established 81 Civic and voter education cells across the 73 districts of Liberia that are currently engaged in outreach activities in various communities including door-to-door and face-to-face campaigns at the grassroots level through the country.
Additionally, she pointed out that considering the relevance of gender mainstreaming, NEC is undertaking a series of gender outreach activities with the support of the UN Women across the country. “Many other partners and Liberian civil society groupings, many of whom have been accredited by NEC, as well as political parties and candidates are also assisting with voter education efforts, for which NEC is grateful.”
Besides several educational materials printed and are being distributed nationwide to facilitate an effective and robust, NEC has entered a memorandum of Understanding with 37 community-based and seven Monrovia based radio stations to assist with the CVE and media activities while the Commission has also reported that it has run a number of radio programs to disseminate information about the electoral process, Madam Lansana said, adding that NEC has accessed some rural community radio stations through INTERNEWS.
She also spoke about regional cooperation of the commission which has yielded the deployment of two data management experts from the African Union and a pending deployment of additional two data management experts by ECOWAS at the NEC Data Center which is aimed at lending credibility and transparency and security of the electoral database.
Accentuating that election security is the responsibility of the government, Madam Lansana also disclosed that ECOWAS has been pouring some computers and printers for election results management as well as to assist with the commission’s voter education and gender outreach efforts and logistics, including the purchase of four vehicles for rough terrains additional to three provided by the AU also for rough terrains.
Expressing gratitude for the level support given the NEC, Madam Lansana concluded by promising the conduct of a free, fair and transparent October 10, 2023 electoral process.