“The technical and transparent election monitoring system instituted at the National Elections Commission (NEC) cannot even cheat for candidate Jesus Christ, were He to be standing in the election,” Commissioner Samuel Joe has said.
In an apparent reaction to media reports of 740,000 excess ballot papers, for the upcoming Senatorial election, Commissioner Joe asserted that the system and regulations instituted by NEC do not favor any particular candidate in any given election in Liberia.
According to him, NEC is now highly so sophisticated, that it takes stock of every ballot leaving the Commission to the counties and their respective polling centers.
Explaining the need for the 740,000 excess ballots, Commissioner Joe said the measure is taken based on international best practice.
He maintained that excess ballots help to avoid situations where an exact amount of ballot papers are printed in keeping with the number of registered voters and when there are damages or spoiled ballots, the Commission can be dragged into a terrible inconvenience.
“We packaged our ballot papers in a kit of 550 papers for each polling center. That is done to ensure transparency and also detect fraud in the electoral system. Because we know the number of voters in one polling center, we give 550 papers to each center to ensure that they can cover up any damages or spoiled ballot without reaching out to other centers.
“Our strategy was redirected from lessons we learned from the 2009 Senatorial Election in River Gee County,” Commissioner Joe explained, citing “damaged ballots from few centers for which we had to look elsewhere for alternatives. Since then, we’ve instituted a system where we give 550 ballots across the board to avoid such ugly situation.
“Since we know the number of voters in each area, we have the kits based on the sealing we get from the printer. We don’t want any tampering with, so we ensure that each center gets its kit and unseals it in the presence of representatives of political parties and observers.
“Everybody present will take stock of the figures and that will be reconciled during the counting and tallying period.
“Polling centers give account of the 550 papers in different categories, spoiled or damaged ballots. In the case of the hard-to-reach areas, some of our trucks get damaged through accidents, where ballot papers get damaged and we are compelled to provide alternatives in such a process.
“That brings suspicions which have the propensity to undermine the credibility of the poll,” the NEC Commissioner asserted.
In an interview yesterday in Monrovia, Commissioner Joe said the system is structured in a way that no candidate is favored, “not even Jesus Christ.”