–Wants all new registrants thoroughly check
The Liberian Election Observation Network (LEON) has alarmed that the National Elections Commission erred in the conduct of the just-ended voter registration Update exercise for the pending mid-term senatorial election.
According to LEON, the failure of the NEC to conduct adequate awareness about the VRU process led to limited registration since there was insufficient awareness among the voters to address the large numbers of people that needed to register or move their registration.
LEON though its steering committee member Pilate Johnson added that the voter information process was extremely poor—as results the vast majority of the citizens were about the process.
“We conducted a survey in August and found that 41 percent of respondents were unaware of the voter registration update and only eleven 11 percent knew when it would start,” Johnson added.
Johnson added that the LEON also observer that the lack of adherence to voter’s identification procedure by registration staff contributed to area voters being registered.
Johnson said, “as a result of this situation, voters trucking became easy to carry against the new election law states that citizens must vote where they ordinarily reside (article 3.1), which makes trucking voters from one district to another illegal.
“LEON has also witnessed vote-buying in Sinoe County and Montserrado districts and buying of voter cards from first-time registrants for US$10,” he said.
Johnson further added that LEON is concerned about the loss of confidence in the registration update, and the behavior of some candidates in trying to defraud the system.
He called on the NEC to thoroughly check all new registrants before they are added to the voters’ list as well as redoubling its efforts to stop multiple voting on Election Day.
Johnson further urged all political parties to straightly adhere to the law and stop committing fraudulent acts or inciting violence.
He said, “In Bomi County District#2, Moses Vincent compound, LEON observers saw voters coming from Montserrado and forcing local voters to leave the queue so that they could register.”
At the same time, Johnson has recommended to the NEC to put measures in place to ensure that people do not vote more than one time on election as well as providing political parties’ agents with one or two copies of the Final Registration Roll (FRR).
“NEC should send a clear message to perpetrators that they will be de-registered from contesting the election if they are found guilty of any infringing election law such as vote-buying or trucking.
“NEC should also ensure that citizens do their duty by checking the provisional Registration Roll (PRR) during the exhibition period and to report anyone from the area on the list, and for the police to investigate all incidents of trucking and vote-buying thoroughly and take against perpetrators” Johnson noted.