The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya, yesterday told journalists in Monrovia that though few unfavorable incidents were reported on election day throughout the country, the majority of the polling places were opened on time, at 8 o’clock a.m. and the NEC was pleased that no major incident had occurred up to the time of his remarks at a press conference, held at 3 p.m. Instead, he said, a peaceful and organized environment had been thus far experienced.
At the press conference, held at the NEC Compound and attended by local and international journalists, Chairman Korkoya said there were large queues at most voting places, though he admitted that there were reports reaching NEC about some members of the electorate who claimed they did not find their names on the voter register list. He, however, explained two scenarios that could have ensued.
He said there is nothing absolutely wrong with the voter register and said one of the reasons that a voter could not locate their names was when a voter joined the wrong queue without consulting a Queue Controller located on the site. As a result, he or she may have gone to the wrong polling place without checking to see if that was the place with their name.
The second reason, he said, was when a voter registered more than once. Chairman Korkoyah explained that every voter is on the NEC’s data base and so when someone registered more than once, the individual would be detected and the duplicate or triplicate registration would be resolved to just one entry on the Voter Roll and registered at only one one of the polling centers where the individual originally registered. In this case, they may face the situation of their name being missing at a particular polling center.
He explained that a situation of double registration amounted to voter fraud, though NEC did not have prosecutorial powers to prosecute offenders. He, however, did not mention whether anyone was in default and also did not indicate whether anyone had been caught in the process.
Mr. Korkoyah said NEC had advised their field supervisors to check along with voters thoroughly with available data, including the index, to make sure that voters had adequate justification to be sent to another center to check their names and to vote.
In a media report indicating that ballot papers arrived late in Segbe Town, Sinoe County, NEC Commissioner Boakai Dukuly explained that up to 3 p.m. on election day, ballot papers had reached everywhere in the country and, therefore, the information from Sinoe was new and the Commission would look into it.
“We cannot deny or affirm the report but we are going to look into it,” he said.
Chairman Korkoya had earlier explained that once voters were in the queue, they would be allowed to vote, after the 6 p.m. poll closure deadline.
He commended the national security forces for working along with NEC to ensure that the exercise was successful.