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ECC Observers Report 2 Critical Incidences …As By-elections Witnessed Zero Intolerance

The National Elections Commission, (NEC) says there has been no report of any real incident of violence since the opening of yesterday representatives’ by-elections in four of the counties across the country.
The voting which took place in Bong, Bomi, Grand Gedeh, and Nimba Counties got underway Tuesday under a peaceful atmosphere with nearly all voting centers opened at 8:00 AM, the NEC reported.
However, the NEC said during the early morning hours, there were some misunderstandings at the Faith International Center in district #1 in Grand Gedeh County but the situation, according to the Commission was quickly resolved and voting resumed in that precinct.
NEC announced that a total of 122, 581 registered voters were expected to vote in the By-elections in electoral district 2, Bong County; electoral district 1, Bomi County; electoral district 1, Grand Gedeh County, and electoral district 1, Nimba county.
Though the counting of ballots began immediately after the close of polls at 6:00 PM, the enthusiasm of several observers cannot be overemphasized thereby attributing to the high ratings of the voting exercise.
Among the observers was, the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) which rated the just ended process as well, took keen interest also in reporting the critical incidents which are surmountable in any election process.
The ECC observers named the two critical incidences as the supporter of the Rainbow Alliance who had access to the precinct of the Faith International School with precinct code: 15074 in District #1 Grand Gedeh County where they allegedly took some photographs.
According to the ECC, the NEC instructed them to delete the photo but they refused and because of that incident, the process was delayed and up till press time, the issue had not being resolved.
The ECC also recorded another incident which took place in the same county at the Calvary Temple AG with precinct code: 15061 while an observer reported that an alleged CDC supporter who is the office staff to the CDC candidate in the county accessed the center and took photographs as well and was demanded to delete them the same way.
“This also led to the process coming to a halt for up to 33 minutes. The photo was subsequently deleted and voting resumed,” the group averred.
Despite the incidences, ECC revealed that its observers were at their assigned voting precincts and polling places and in 99% of the polling places where they were located, the NEC staff respected the observers’ status as accredited observers and permitted them to observe at the polling place.
The ECC observers reported that at all 78 of polling places observed all five NEC staff present during the set-up and in 19% of the polling places, at least two NEC staff were females.
It was also observed that all sensitive materials (including the ballots, ballot stamp, indelible ink, the Final Registration Roll (FRR), and the Record of the Count Forms) that were available at all observed polling places at the time of opening were reported.
In all of polling places where the ECC observed, they reported that the NEC presiding officer showed that the ballot boxes were empty and the presiding officer sealed each of the ballot boxes with four seals before voting commenced.
ECC observers in 49% of polling places noted that they had to climb stairs to reach the polling place though stairs make polling place inaccessible to persons with disabilities or the elderly.
The observatory group further reported that in all of voting precincts that their observers were located, observers saw security personnel in the area.
Meanwhile, the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) with funding from USAID and in partnership with Democracy International (DI) to observe the by-elections.
The ECC is comprised of the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections – Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). CDG serves as the chair of ECC.

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