With 14 months to the 2017 transitional elections, the main opposition political party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), has expressed fear over the use of manual voter registration and has called for a biometric voting system to address the issue.
To prevent election fraud, CDC is urging President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to support the development of a reform agenda to get rid of the “Manual Voter Registration,” which the Party says would result in 90% fraud.
The CDC said that the Biometric Voter Registration is better to promote transparency and fairness, because its use would considerably decrease the potential for fraud.
Nathaniel McGill, the CDC Chairman, said during a press conference yesterday at the party’s headquarters in Congo Town, that President Sirleaf should exert every effort to provide the US$24 million requested by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the Biometric Voter Registration system, in order to allay the “fears of voters” concerning the possible occurrence of fraud.
He did not state what the CDC would do if the President insists on using the Manual Voter Registration.
McGill told journalists that the CDC and other political parties were taken aback when the NEC announced that the President has said the country would not support the use of Biometric Voter Registration System due to lack of money.
“The NEC has informed us that only US$10 million has been allocated for the Manual Voter Registration and there would not be any additional amount – most likely the additional US$14m – for the Biometric Voter Registration,” Mr. McGill said.
“We want to say to the President, we prefer the Biometric Voter Registration. Please find the additional US$14 million,” he said.
In his argument, Mr. McGill said the party has formally written to the Legislature, and suggested that US$14 million should be re-directed from the money allotted for the renovation of the Executive Mansion.
He also suggested that the budgetary allotment of the National Security Agency (NSA), in the amount of US$9 million, be sliced and added on to the Liberia National Police (LNP) allotment in the wake of the drawdown ofthe United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Reports say that the CDC political leader, Montserrado Senator George M. Weah, who arrived in the country yesterday, has sanctioned the warning against the use of Manual Voter Registration, arguing that voter fraud was one of the reasons the CDC boycotted the 2011 presidential run-off.
An aide to Sen. Weah told the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile phone that the Senator will press the President to use biometric voter registration.