.... The electoral body had about two months ago released a preliminary figure of 2,498,904, registered voters of which 27,192 duplicates were identified while 529 were suspected as underage registrants.
The National Elections Commission has disqualified a staggering 27,287 voters after conducting rigorous deduplication and adjudication processes to eliminate cases of double registration.
The Commission had previously warned of severe penalties for voters who had registered twice during the biometric voter registration exercise.
The electoral body had about two months ago released a preliminary figure of 2,498,904, registered voters of which 27,192 duplicates were identified while 529 were suspected as underage registrants.
But the Commission, after extensive deduplication and adjudication process, which was intended to identify and remove individuals who had registered more than once in the voter registration system, has announced q final registrations figure of 2,471,617 registered voters, automatically disqualifying 27,287 voters.
“Prior to the exhibition, the NEC announced a preliminary figure of 2,498,904, of which 27,192 duplicate records were identified while 529 suspected underage registrants were flagged, and the total active registrants was 2,471,183. Both active registrants and suspected underage registrants were exhibited during the period stated above,” Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, the Chairperson of the Commission said in a statement.
“The Commission, having concluded the exhibition, deduplication, and adjudication process of the 2023 Biometric Voter Registration provisional registration roll, I am pleased to announce the final figures of registered voters that will participate in the October 10 elections as 2,471,617,” Lansanah added.
Double registration, which often involves using different names or identities, is illegal in Liberia, seen as voter fraud, and punishable by law.
However, for prosecution to take place, the Commission must not only remove their voter registration identification but also file a complaint with the Ministry of Justice. As it stands, it is unclear whether the electoral body will opt for legal action having vowed to do so.
The discovery of such a huge double registration number comes after the electoral body moved to use biometric equipment for its voter registration exercise. The biometric process was intended to streamline the electoral process and reduce the potential for double registration and other forms of voter fraud after it came under pressure to ditch its optical manual registration (OMR) system.
Many argue that the OMR system does not improve the accountability and transparency of electoral processes and is usually tainted by controversy and mistrust. The biometric system, which is also not a silver bullet according to experts, is seen as a safe route to producing a credible voter roll void of double registration.