Rain Dampens Voter Turnout in Montserrado By-elections

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A sparsely attended voting precinct in Gardnersville, Montserrad County.

A little more than 500 voters have so far cast their ballots in the Montserrado County by-elections in seven Voting Precinct Centers, comprising 35 Polling Places in Grassfield and some part of New Georgia in Gardnersville, according to Political Parties and other observers.

The by-elections for the representative seat for Montserrado County District #15 and the County’s senatorial seat are because of the deaths of Rep. Adolph Lawrence and Sen. Geraldine Doe-Sherif respectively.

Observers said Monday’s turnout in the morning hours is even less than expected, compared to the November 20, 2018 by-elections held to fill a representative seat in Montserrado County District #13 and ad a senatorial seat in Sinoe County, adding the rain and the choice of Monday after a long weekend are keeping voters home.

Last year’s by-election in District #13 Montserrado County, 15,451 voters turned out while 11,425 voted in the Senatorial by-election in Sinoe County.

Observers believed Liberians are still wrapped under their sheets to dodge the wet weather, while others are still suffering from the weekend’s fatigue to locate their voting cards and, on the other hand, the burden of transportation following illegal trucking of voters is also dampening the turnout of voters.

So far, there have not been any report of election violence or fraud, except cases of misspelt surnames with the matching voter ID numbers on the voters’ roll, registration center code, sex, age and county in the Gardnersville area.

Also, the fate of assigned officers hangs in the balance, as the National Elections Commission (NEC) has yet to determine whether Electoral Supervisors (ES) and certain law enforcement officers (police, immigration, etc) will be allowed to vote at their assigned precincts in Montserrado County.

Political observers said the weather will affect voters and the weather has taken on unusual significance, because it can be a quiet determinant of voter behavior.

They argued that “rain” can depress turnout, particularly as the saying goes “Liberians are afraid of rain than guns.”

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