“We Are Prepared to Conduct Elections” -NEC Chairperson Lansanah Assures Liberians

MONROVIA: The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah, has assured Liberians that the scheduled October 10, 2023 will be held as planned, and that the Commission has already received US$49.7 million out of the US$53 million budgeted for the conduct of general and presidential elections in the country.

“With respect to funding of the Commission, we have received some $49,710,271 United States Dollars from a budgeted amount of US$53million. The balance due is US$3.2 million. NEC is prepared to conduct the 10th October elections; ballots are being printed and arrival will be soon in the country,” the NEC boss said Tuesday when she appeared with members of the electoral house Board of Commissioners to fulfill a citation from the Senate.

It can be recalled that the senators recently cited Chairperson Lansanah and members of the NEC Board of Commissioners to provide an update on preparations made including security for the holding of free, fair, nonviolent and transparent elections. “It is important to note that your appearance and subsequent discussions on these matters will afford the Senate the opportunity to make decisions from an informed position,” the Senate’s citation said.

Responding to queries from Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon whether funding has been available for a possible runoff; whether cameras would be allowed at polling places; whether the final cleaned up voter roll would be made available to the political parties in keeping with law; whether the NEC recruitment for temporary election staff would be done online or manually; and whether the October 10, 2023 elections will be conduct manually or by biometric vote, Chairperson Lansanah confidently took her time to address all of the concerns raised.

“We don’t have funding for a possible runoff because we still need US$3.2million to add up to the US$49.7 million that will equal the US$53 million given to us through budgetary appropriation,” she said in response to Senator Dillon’s concern over funding for a possible runoff election.

On the issue of whether cameras and electronic gadgets will be allowed at polling places, she said, “Normally, on election day, no one is allowed to carry cameras and take photos of what we are doing.

“The final registration roll which is known as the FRR was published. Secondly, we have a time table of when we issue the FRR to political parties. This will be done in September. This is a normal process. It is not new to this election. Previously, we put them on pen drives and CDs. All political parties have these records,” Chairperson Lansanah said in response to Senator Dillon’s query on the final voter roll.

“I am not sure what you mean by manually, but I will explain. We instituted a recruitment portal which we used during the biometric voter registration process. The reason for that is, this online registration helps us first to create data so that any time we needed these people, we could go right back to the data and call them because we have their telephone numbers also for them to participate when we need them. It also provides records of Liberians who have capacity to conduct these elections. People are applying online in the 15 counties, 19 magisterial offices,” she said in response to the question about online recruitment.

Regarding whether the ensuing elections will be conducted biometrically or manually, Chairperson Lansanah said the NEC has repeatedly provided this information at different forums.

“We have said that the biometric was for voter registration, so we conducted biometric voter registration. There will be no electronic voting on election day. On election day, it will be a manual process as we have done for elections in Liberia. When you get to the center, you show your biometric card, the FR booklet which is pasted on the wall outside is also in the hands of those processing you to go and vote. They will look in there and check whether you are on the voter roll. If you are on the voter roll, you will be given your different ballots and you go behind the screen and do your voting.

With respect to the Senate’s concern about security threat relative to the holding of elections, which was stated in their citation to the NEC Chairperson and the Board of Commissioners, Chairperson Lansanah said the NEC does not have that information. However, she said the security apparatus may be able to provide any information to the Senate with respect to the security of the country as well as security of the election.

“What we can say is that the NEC liaises with the LNP and the Justice Ministry to ensure that they are prepared and ready to provide security of sensitive electoral materials on deployment as well as security of the electoral process as it will be happening on election day,” the NEC boss.

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