Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya, accompanied by three other commissioners and a representative of the European Union (EU) were last Saturday, September 23, escorted by a squad of armed police officers to receive the full consignment of presidential ballot papers when it arrived from Slovenia, Europe.
The sealed consignment, which was flown in by Air Egypt, landed on the runway of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) at 7:35 p.m.
Addressing journalists shortly after the arrival of the three million ballots, Korkoya said the delivery of the voting cards was a fulfillment of the Commission’s commitment to respecting its timeline for the ensuing elections.
“I feel great that we are on course, because of the prompt arrival of those ballot papers. We will begin to distribute them to all the polling centers before the arrival of the representative ballot papers on September 28,” Korkoya assured. “Inasmuch as there are challenges in every aspect of life, including the conduct of a crucial election process like ours, we are certain that God will carry us through it all peacefully.”
The journalists were taken to the RIA to witness the offloading and transporting of the materials to the NEC warehouse in Monrovia to avoid any speculation and misinformation through their various media outlets.
“Each polling place will have the maximum number of 500 voters, but 50 additional ballot papers will be given to the presiding officer of a particular center in the presence of his/her co-workers as well as observers. The 50 ballots will be there to replace any damaged ones,” Korkoya said.
The ballot papers were also offloaded under the watch of security officers from the Liberian National Police (LNP) and loaded onto trucks that were escorted by the LNP to the NEC headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia.
“These boxes will be under security protection until October 10,” Korkoya said.
Samuel Joe, a member of the NEC’s Board of Commissioners, expressed happiness over the level of collaboration between the Commission, its partners and the government. “We are grateful to the UNDP, EU, IFES, UNMIL, Carter Center, among several of our partners ensuring that the pending elections are held peacefully in accordance with accepted international standards,” he said.
Joe admonished the public to do away with misinformation and violence that have the tendency of taking the country backward.
“We all might not be happy, neither agree with everything people say or do, but the uniqueness of democracy is that you have the right to make a change through the ballot box. You don’t have to tear each other apart,” he added.