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 NEC Chairman Korkoya's 9th Weekly Press Briefing Notes October 4th, 2017

Office of the Chairman

Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya

Chairman, National Elections Commission

Regular press conference

 

  1. Welcome to this weekly press conference and update on preparations for the 10 October 2017 general elections.
  1. I want to highlight and respond to arising issues including:
  1. Delivery of election materials and ballot papers;
  2. Progress on training of polling staff;
  3. Campaign issues arising.

Delivery of election material

  1. Electoral preparations remain on track. There are very tight deadlines to meet and we are working hard to meet these in advance of polling on 10 October 2017.
  1. The final batch of ballot papers for the House of Representatives is scheduled to arrive on today, Oct. 4, 2017. At that point ALL election materials for these elections will be in Liberia. This delay was largely due to the irregular size of the ballot papers in few electoral districts in Montserrado County that have up to 28 candidates. This issue has since been resolved and all ballots printed.
  1. Deployment of materials is in progress, our operational personnel are working around the clock to pack materials at our warehousing facilities. And these materials are being delivered to the various counties presently. Security is in place at all levels.
  1. We are aware of news reports that some individuals, including some politicians, have questioned the integrity of our electoral systems in the media regarding the number of ballot papers printed. Although we have sufficiently addressed this question prior, the Commission would like to, once more, reassure political parties, all stakeholders and voters that there is no question related to the integrity of the number of ballot papers being deployed. Printing contingency ballots are consistent with industry standard practice. 
  1. Furthermore, there are full accountability mechanisms in place to account for every single ballot paper. Every ballot will be accounted for at opening and closing of polling places. Those that will be used, not used and spoilt will be fully accounted for in a transparent and consistent manner.
  1. The National Elections Commission has also taken delivery of a shipment of electronics equipment from South Africa including photocopiers that is part of building a stronger institution. I would like to thank the South African Government and people for this donation. I would also like to thank H.E. The President, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for the formal request to the Government of South Africa for this equipment on her recent official visit there. And for her government’s support to the National Elections Commission throughout this process.

Progress on training of polling staff

  1. Training of polling staff is continuing and is on schedule. On 2 October 2017 the National Elections Commission started the final round of training for 17,000 polling station staff on procedures. All planned training is scheduled to be completed by 6 and 7 October 2017 across the country. We welcome the attendance of election observers at these training sessions. All aspects of these elections will be transparent and open to scrutiny.
  1. The National Elections Commission expects polling staff to act in accordance with the highest possible standards and to assist manage a credible, transparent and professional voting and counting processes. 

Campaign issues arising

  1. There has been a clash of timetables regarding campaign rallies planned for Monrovia this weekend. Both the Alternative National Congress and Unity Party have submitted plans for campaign rallies on 7 October 2017.
  1. In the interests of public safety the National Elections Commission has informed the Unity Party that it should look at other options for holding its rally. An official letter is being sent presently. We have explained to them the Alternative National Congress submitted their full details of the event first and in the interests of fairness the National Elections Commission believes it should be able to hold its rally.
  1. After discussions it has been tentatively agreed the Unity Party will either reschedule its planned rally for the 6 or 8 October 2017. Or hold a gathering at its party headquarters in Monrovia on the 7 October 2017. I would like to thank all political parties for their cooperation on this matter.
  1. The official campaign period ends this weekend. So far the campaign has been largely peaceful. I would like to congratulate the political parties and the general public for their actions to date. Please let us make sure this continues over the week and final weekend of the campaign and beyond as final preparations for the elections are completed.
  1. The National Elections Commission would like to remind political parties and independent candidates that pursuant to the powers afforded the commission by Section 5.1b of the Regulations and Guidelines Relating to Political Parties and Independent Candidates the campaign will end at midnight on Sunday 8 October 2017 in line with the published election calendar.
  1. No more campaigning should be permitted after the official campaign period has ended. I would also remind the media to be responsible in their coverage of election day. Report events accurately and impartially. The public will rely on the media for information on election day.
  1. The National Elections Commission also is pleased to see the Coalition for Democratic Change campaign spokesperson cited in the media as saying the party recognizes that we are the only body in this country that has the powers to release official results. The National Elections Commission calls on all political parties to be responsible and not to release unofficial election results that can mislead voters and supporters. Please take this request with the utmost seriousness.

Closing

  1. The electoral timetable is on track. Regular updates on progress will be issued and the National Elections Commission will inform the media on final preparations for the media centre in advance of the election day and results process. Once the final ballot paper consignment arrives we will also notify the public and media.
  1. Any voters that have not checked their details please do so. I would ask the media to send out a strong message after today for voters to use the SMS system for checking voter details. 1847.
  1. More updates will be issued throughout the next days.
  2. the final ballot paper consignment arrives we will also notify the public and media.
  1. Any voters that have not checked their details please do so. I would ask the media to send out a strong message after today for voters to use the SMS system for checking voter details. 1847.
  1. More updates will be issued throughout the next days.

 



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