– In frustration, many voters abandon polls in Omega Town, Wood Camp, Duport Road
By Hannah Geterminah
Several angry voters yesterday went on a rampage at the Christian Home Ministries International polling center in Omega Town, removing a door to the center because of the delay in starting the voting process.
The uproar occurred when NEC pollsters were reported to have confined themselves inside the center for too long, making preparations to begin the process that started at about 10 a.m., two hours after the 8 a.m official opening time for voting to begin nationwide.
Before the confusion, NEC pollsters had ushered several elderly citizens into the room but the delay resulted in a negative reaction from electorates who had waited for hours to cast their votes. There was, however, no report of any physical assault. There were three police officers assigned to the center.
At the Wood Camp Royal K voting center, the voting started at 10:45 a.m and many voters expressed their frustration and anger, with several reportedly abandoning the voting process.
At the Duport Road Baptist Church center, voting started at 11:12 a.m to the disappointment of voters. Many left while others stayed and voted.
The presiding officer at the Christian Home Ministries International for Omega Tower polling place number 2, Elsen B. K. Willies, regretted the situation.
Mr. Willie further said that they (poll workers) slept at the center because they were informed that the process would commence at 8:00 a.m, adding that up to 9:30 a.m., basic equipments that was needed for the process had not arrived at the center.
“I spoke to those that are out there to remain calm and avoid confusion during the process. We will ensure that everyone takes part in this process to ensure a peaceful election,” he said.
Voter Melvin Tokpah said he went to the center at 4:30 a.m. to cast his vote but became downhearted because of the delay and was afraid that the center would not close around 6:00 p.m. as scheduled by the NEC.
He said many voters arrived very early happy for the opportunity to cast their votes, but that many left because of the delay and the violence that followed the forceful removal of the door to the center.
A 58-year-old woman, Bendu Gaye, said she registered at the Christian Home Ministries International polling center but did not see her name on the official NEC list.
Madam Gaye said she was downhearted because she would not be part of the decision to elect new leaders for Liberia.
At the Duport Road Community the process was slow and as a result, several people abandoned the process on grounds that their names were not found on the official NEC listing.