Bong Senatorial Re-run Scheduled for Sept. 29

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NEC Boss Jerome Korkoyah1.jpg

In spite of Dr. Tokpa’s public announcement that he would not participate in a re-run election for the Bong Senatorial seat, the National Elections Commission (NEC) will uphold the Supreme Court’s ruling to conduct a re-run in parts of Bong County on September 29.
NEC is under instruction from the Supreme Court to hold a re-run of the Bong County instance of the December 2014 Special Senatorial Election, which was won by incumbent Senator Jewel Howard Taylor. Dr. Tokpa, another candidate in the race, protested the results of the December poll to the Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor and mandated the Commission to redo the poll within 60 days following the high court’s August 7 ruling.
In compliance with the court’s mandate, NEC has projected US$50,000 for the conduct of the re-run election, which will affect two precincts: Yarbayeh Public School and Beletenda Palava Hut; as well as one polling center: Sanoyea Market, Polling Place #5. All are located in Electoral District #7.
Analysts project that the results of the re-run might not render any significant difference in the original results, since Sen. Taylor topped Dr. Tokpa in many other polling locations elsewhere around the county.
During the announcement of the re-run date at the NEC headquarters yesterday, Dr. Tokpa was represented by his lawyers. Interestingly, even though he announced his disinterest for participating in the re-run, any results in his favor would still be his to claim, since his non-participation announcement has yet to be formally addressed to the Supreme Court and NEC. Such a formal withdrawal from the re-run could also save the government the US$50,000 invested in the re-run process.
During the issuance of the writ of election – a legal instrument that authorizes elections magistrates to proceed with the conduct of elections – NEC Chairman Jerome G. Korkoya mandated the clerk, Antoinette Johnson to Issue a Writ for the re-run of the Special Senatorial Election on the Elections Magistrate of Lower Bong County, Barzie Kpangba.
Madam Johnson mandated the magistrate to conduct a re-run of the Special Senatorial Election in the select precincts and polling center from the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
She authorized Magistrate Kpangba to certify the endorsement of the writ of election by submitting to her office the results of the election following the completion of the electoral process, a traditional procedure in the conduct of elections.
The issuance of the writ of election is a requirement of Chapter 4, sub-section 4.3 of the New Elections Law of 1986.
Even though Dr. Tokpa has declined to contest the re-run, the mandate of the High Court will be honored, and as such, the election must proceed.
Meanwhile, NEC yesterday launched the Civic Voter Education Toolkit with a call for more public engagement by the Commission, political parties and other partners.
The Toolkit is a comprehensive package of information and items that provide a standard for the effective dissemination of electoral messages with the aim to ensure equitable and increased voter participation. The Commission is preparing for the conduct of a possible referendum in 2016 and a highly anticipated legislative and presidential election in 2017.
According to the Commission, said document is the first of its kind that includes the “full involvement of civil society actors and other international partners” from the drafting to completion and now national policy.

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