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 Chairman, National Elections Commission: Press Briefing Notes September 6th, 2017

Office of the Chairman   

Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya

Regular Press Conference

  1. Welcome to this weekly press conference and update on preparations for the 10 October 2017 general elections. As the preparations continue the National Elections Commission looks forward to continuing these updates.
  1. Firstly let me personally welcome back Commissioner Jonathon Weedor one of our most long-standing and distinguished commissioners. We are extremely grateful to have him back with us with his wealth of electoral experience to share. He is a crucial part of our commission and we are delighted he is here. We look forward to benefiting from his experience in the run up to the election.
  1. I want to highlight and respond to rising issues including:
  1. Voter register distribution;
  2. Political party issues arising;
  3. Issues around accurate information being published.

Voter Register

  1. In line with the election timetable and the law, the National Elections Commission will distribute the final voter register starting on September 10, 2017 to magistrates’ offices around the country. The process of cleaning and checking the roll has been completed and the list is now ready. There are calls from some individuals for it to be published, but we like to remind those individuals that this is a process and not an event and the National Elections Commission has a responsibility to make sure things are done properly and in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Elections Law. It is not the Commission that sets out these steps it is the law of the land.
  1. To recap Chapter 3 requires the National Elections Commission to follow clear steps to produce the voter register. This includes initial registration, public exhibition, replacement of cards if required, objections and challenges to entries and investigations as well as cleaning and checking of the database for any duplication.
  1. In this respect the law sets out a number of steps that should be taken in compiling an accurate voter register. And these have been strictly followed. This takes time and effort to reach out to voters and check details. Whilst we understand the calls by political parties, we would also ask for patience. This is a time consuming process that should not be rushed.
  1. Once the voter register is available at magisterial centers members of the public and other stakeholders will be able to check their details. At the same time copies will be distributed to political parties as a transparency measure. No more changes are permitted to the register at that point without permission from the Supreme Court.
  1. Contrary to what has been mentioned, the National Elections Commission is not obliged to publish the list in the mass media and it does not intend to at this point in time. It does not know of any international examples where voter registers are published in the mass media line by line.

New SMS and Internet Service for Voters

  1. The Internet and SMS text based systems where voters are able to access details of their polling place are either live or about to go live. On the website it is possible to check voter details already. The SMS system will be ready shortly. As we know, there is limited access to the Internet in the country, mobile telephones, however, are widely available and we would encourage voters to check their voting locations on either of these platforms.

Political Party Issues

  1. Political parties that have not done so should submit their detailed campaign plans as a matter or urgency. Public security is very important and we want to ensure rallies and campaign programmes do not coincide unnecessarily. Also, please ensure the police is informed of large rallies to minimise public disruption and risks of campaign the rallies clashing with one another. We want to make sure everyone is safe during these rallies, public order is maintained and inconvenience to the public is minimised.
  1. Parties are also required to submit their audited accounts and declaration of assets on 1 September 2017 in accordance with Article 83d of the Constitution. Only nine parties have so far submitted these and the National Elections Commission will review these shortly.
  1. The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet to make a decision on the parties that have not met the legal deadline. So far we have received accounts from:

Grassroots Democratic Party of Liberia; Movement for Economic Empowerment; All Liberian Coalition Party; All Liberia Party; Coalition for Democratic Change; People’s Unification Party, Unity Party; Liberia Transformation Party and Alternative National Congress.

  1. In a campaign year all assets, liabilities and income including donations should be declared in line with the law. Chapter 7 of the Elections Law is very detailed in this respect and the National Elections Commission will be using its powers to audit accounts to ensure all political parties respect these rules. This is a key transparency measure for political parties and it is important more efforts are made to submit these documents. Transparency is not only expected from the National Elections Commission. It is also required and expected from political parties and this is one major legal provision to guarantee that.

Issues Around Accurate Information Being Published

  1. There have also been a number of public opinion polls recently in the newspapers. The National Elections Commission would like to encourage those conducting these polls to clearly outline to readers their details to enable the electorate to properly understand their significance. This can include details of how the poll is conducted, organisations involved and margin of error. It is important the public is not misled.
  1. Also, I want to stress on results management. Reports in the press suggest parties will collect results from polling stations. This is their right. However, let me stress and I will be saying this a lot over the next weeks. The only body that has a legal right to announce official results of a Liberian election is the National Elections Commission. No other institution can announce official results of an election according to the law. So I would call on parties and the media to be extremely responsible in how they handle this matter.

Outstanding Candidate Registration Issues

  1. Hearings, complaints and appeals are virtually completed. The deadline has passed for complaints and we will not take complaints submitted after the deadline. Two Supreme Court cases were decided yesterday involving Edwin Snowe and Amos Seibo. The court confirmed the actions and decisions of the National Elections Commission. We are aware of one further Supreme Court case pending and have made plans to accommodate any changes to ballot papers if required pursuant to the ruling. The commission works in line with Supreme Court decisions and will continue to do so.


  1. In our meeting with political parties last week it was encouraging to hear their strong commitment to a peaceful election. Let me repeat our earlier message and encourage political parties to continue campaigning in a peaceful environment in the spirit of the Ganta and Farmington River declarations.
  1. Also let me repeat: parties please take note of your legal obligations in respect to the submission of declaration of assets, and our request for campaign plans to be submitted.
  1. Finally, I am pleased to announce that in accordance with Article 4.2 of the Elections Law the National Elections Commission is today issuing the list of polling stations for the ensuing elections. Please note that the listing is being published in advance of the statutorily required date.

Section 4.2 (4) of the New Election Law mandates the Commission to, Inter Alia make arrangement for    0the list of polling places to be published not less than 10 days before the elections.


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