As political actors are now looking forward to seeing numbers translate into votes as they seek offices in the Executive and Lower House, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced that Montserrado, Nimba and Bong counties carry the most weight in terms of the number of registered voters expected to participate in the ensuing elections.
Addressing journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia, the chairman of NEC, Jerome George Korkoya said “Consistent with Article 2.9 (K)(N) and (S) of the New Elections Laws of Liberia, we have come to announce the final figures from the Voter Registration (VR) exercise which took place from February 1 to March 14, 2017.”
“We are aware that the credibility of the electoral process, to a large extent, hinges on the credibility of the voters registered,” he said.
Korkoya noted, “That is why when citizens complained about their names not being on the roll following the publication of provisional voters’ (roll), the Commission took a number of steps to correct the situation.” He outlined some of the steps taken by the NEC as the hiring of a reputable data management group called Super Tech, a Ghanaian company which examined and validated the Ghanaian voters registration in 2016.
He said other steps employed by the commission were the recruitment of a data expert by the UNDP, who worked online with the Liberian NEC data center staff to correct some of the challenges then, and the undertaking of a physical count of all Optical Management Recording (OMR) forms that came from the field during the VR process so that no Liberian who legally registered was left out of the voters’ roll.
Of the 2.1 million registered voters, Montserrado recorded 777,503; Nimba, 279,572; and Bong registered 208,150. Bomi registered 61,171; Gbarpolu 48,669; Grand Bassa 145,798; Grand Cape Mount, 65,800; Grand Gedeh, 63,495; Grand Kru, 35,506; Lofa, 167,555; Margibi, 154,328; Maryland, 57,344; River Gee, 35,240; River Cess, 35,600; and Sinoe 47,952.
These summed up the total number of voter registrants to 2,183,683; and of this total figure, 1,120,950 were males, equivalent to 51 percent, while 1,062,733 were females, a number that makes up 49 percent.
The NEC chairman announced that 108,485 of the registered voters were 18-year-olds, while the average age of all registrants is 35.
Interesting to also note is that Nimba’s VR tally alone, which stands as 279,572, is more than the total number of registered voters in the entire southeast, which comprises Maryland, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Rivercess and River Gee. While these six southeastern counties have generally some of the smallest numbers per county, their total tally, which stands at 275,137, can make a remarkable difference for any presidential campaign and it will be interesting to see how candidates approach this hard-to-reach part of the country this time of the year.
Addressing the just ended candidates’ nomination exercise, Korkoya said the NEC distributed packages to 26 political parties and 103 independent candidates. “Between June 19 to July 21 this year, 1028 aspirants returned their validation forms while 20 presidential, as well as 20 vice presidential aspirants, also submitted their forms. Others are 986 representative aspirants,” he pointed out.
NEC records 865 male aspirants, 163 females; and of these numbers, 929 were from political parties, while 99 were independent aspirants. “Please note that these numbers could reduce based on the outcome of the cases being adjudicated.”