The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), a civil society platform comprising 30 organizations that observe every aspect of the elections processes in Liberia, has called on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to tackle critical issues that threaten to compromise the conduct of the ongoing voter registration (VR) process.
The group has meanwhile deployed 89 observers across the 15 counties to witness the VR exercise.
Oscar Bloh, Head of the ECC Steering Committee, told a news conference yesterday that 249 reports from ECC Observers across the country show that although the VR process is progressing, it is not free of challenges.
Mr. Bloh said ECC observers reported that nine registration centers did not open between February 1 and 6 because they lacked functional cameras, while 171 out of the 247 centers opened by 8:00 a.m. as scheduled.
He said that 37 out of 237 registration centers with either uniformed security personnel, while 68 out of 231 centers had political party representatives. According to Mr. Bloh, at 37 out of 237 registration centers covered, applicants were required to go upstairs to register, which posed potential problems for some persons with disabilities.
Mr. Bloh noted that applicants were not systematically asked to show proof of eligibility and indicated that at “111 out of 231 registration centers, every applicant was asked to show proof of his/her eligibility, while at 123 out of 131 registration centers, applicants were asked to provide evidence that they ordinarily resided in the locality they opted to register in.”
He said at 19 out of 231 registration centers, the cameras did not work throughout the day; while at 5 out of 231 registration centers the cameras did not take good quality photographs.
Bloh: “…at 23 out of the 230 registration centers, ECC observers reported that the center was
closed for more than an hour, and at 13 out of 231 registration centers, the centers closed before 4:00 p.m.”
However, Mr. Bloh said there appears to be confusion about the closing time for registration centers, with some staff believing it is 4:00 p.m., others 5:00 p.m. and others, still, 6:00 p.m.
He recommended that NEC should address the late opening of registration centers and distribute functional cameras to enhance the quality of the process.
Mr. Bloh wants the NEC to ensure that registration centers open at 8:00 a.m. as scheduled and provide clarity on whether applicants are required to provide proof of eligibility. He also called on the NEC to provide clarity on the closing time of the registration centers and ensure that observers are provided a copy of the Daily Accounting Sheet (DAS).