Deploys 2,170 observers to polling centers
By David Yates and Robin Dopoe, Jr.
Ahead of tomorrow’s fiercely contested elections, the chair of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), Oscar Bloh, has cautioned the National Elections Commission (NEC) to demonstrate the highest degree of neutrality and transparency in conducting, counting, tallying and announcing of elections results.
Mr. Bloh reminded the Commisson that the October 10 presidential and legislative election is very crucial to maintaining peace and democracy in Liberia and will represent the first democratic transition of power from one government to another in more than three decades.
He said the NEC should treat all electoral petitions, disputes, and grievances in a transparent and timely manner to avoid any chaos.
According to Bloh, it is about time that the NEC provides detailed information to the public on how the system set up for the entry and transmission of results will operate as well as help reduce public fear and build confidence in the commission.
“These recommendations are priorities to consolidate Liberia’s political transition and fragile democracy. These are not only about the NEC, political parties and independent candidates and their supporters because everyone should remain peaceful, abide by the laws and should refrain from announcing election results. If any political party or independent candidate has grievances on the electoral process and results, they should follow the law and procedures as enshrined in the electoral laws and regulations,” he said.
The ECC boss said political parties and independent candidates need to deploy trained agents to observe the voting, closing, counting and tallying of results and to properly document their findings and not interfere with the process.
On the judiciary, Bloh added that the Supreme Court should expeditiously adjudicate all electoral related petitions, disputes, and grievances and that the LNP and other security agencies must continue to demonstrate neutrality and professionalism in dealing with electoral related matters.
Meanwhile, the ECC will deploy 2,170 observers of different categories tomorrow, including 89 long-term observers and 2,000 short-term observers in all of the 73 electoral districts.
Out of the 2,000 observers, Mr. Bloh said 832 will be systematically deployed as Rapid Response Observers. 500 of these observers are part of a national sample based on a proportional distribution by district.
“Given the high concentration of voters in Montserrado County, the ECC is deploying additional Rapid Response Observers proportionally distributed over the county’s 17 electoral districts.
“Based on this deployment strategy and using a real-time reporting system, the ECC will be able to report on the conduct of the polls across the country, using representative information and 42 tally centers covering all 19 Magisterial offices and the National Tally Center,” said Bloh. He also said that ECC has established a data center that will be receiving real-time information through coded text messages from the observers observing at particular polling places.