The National Elections Commission (NEC) now has no recourse but to publish the Voter Registration Roll, the Liberians for Change Movement (LCM) said in a statement issued yesterday in Monrovia.
The group’s chairman, John Yedeba Brownell, in a statement said the request is necessary because it is abundantly clear that the legal challenge to irregularities in the October 10 presidential and legislative elections has exposed the weaknesses in Liberia’s current electoral system and it is important for action to be taken now to prevent those mistakes in the future.
The Liberians for Change Movement (LCM) is a civic society organization that partners with the National Elections Commission (NEC) and other civic organizations as workdogs to encourage civilian participation in elections and other civic events in the country.
Brownell said Liberians must put politics aside and know that there are incompetent, greedy and corrupt tendencies that have produced a voting process without a published official voter registration roll.
“We are asking for the official voter registration roll to be published at least before the runoff as a benefit to the nation and as a positive result to challenge the current stalemate,” he said. “We are faced with the daunting task of changing major issues affecting Liberia. Liberians ought to realize that the things that bind us are more than the things that divide us. At this stage, Liberia has won and we ought to realize this great achievement.
Liberians have recognized irregularities ranging from incompetent polling staff – poor and nepotistic hiring, the number of voters listed at polling centers lower than the actual number of voters, late start of voting at several polling centers resulting in thousands of registered voters being denied their franchise, said Browness. He added that lack of electricity at centers although voting ran late into the night, NEC and presidential staffers’ fraudulent voter cards production scheme along with other alleged fraudulent acts of voter card production across the border from Gola Kone, Grand Cape Mount on the Sierra Leone side of the border, to unsupervised voter registration process by security personnel, were responsible for the current political impasse and ultimately, the country’s current stalled progress.
“At this juncture, let’s recognize these shortcomings and move our process ahead to avoid a constitutional crisis. We can recognize that every party was in fact faced with these similar conditions and so we can safely say that at least the competition, although failing miserably to meet set objectives and complying with best standards and practices, still produced to some extent a result that reflected how the country has voted in the past two elections,” he argued.
The Liberty Party, he said, under the leadership of Charles Walker Brumskine, exercised its legal rights under the Constitution of Liberia, particularly in the face of all the glaring irregularities demonstrated and witnessed during the October 10 elections and hoped the matters raised will be adjudicated in a timely manner to avoid a constitutional crisis.
He said the chairman of the National Elections Commission, Jerome Korkoya, prejudiced the entire situation when he chose to make reckless statements trashing in public matters relating to an ongoing investigation, adding, “Indeed, these matters had not been officially investigated by the Commission’s Hearing Officer, nor by the full Board of Commissioners in case of any dissatisfaction emanating thereof.”
Brownell stated that the NEC chairman along with the Board of Commissioners committed to “no more than 500 voters at any polling center,” which was used as the basis for the over-procurement of 3 million plus ballots, “which unfortunately resulted to a process where reality has now become a dream.”
Finally, he called on Liberia’s partners to provide technical assistance to the NEC to compile and publish an official Voter Registration Roll before the runoff.