By Alex Yomah
Commissioner Davidetta Brown Lansanah has admitted to some challenges in the conduct of the 2020 elections but indicated that the incidents are not grave enough to overturn the elections results.She acknowledged that there were challenges in upper and lower Nimba, Gbarpolu and Grand Gedeh Counties but told the media that the National Elections Commission (NEC) has commenced the tallying of results of the just ended elections and national referendum across the country.
In her first post elections address to the public yesterday through a media conference, the NEC boss said in Gbarpolu County electoral district # 3 comprising of four polling places, it was confirmed that the Town Chief seized the ballot boxes and that denied about 2021 eligible voters from casting their ballots.
She assured that investigation is ongoing into the matter as an assessment team has been sent in to ascertain the facts surrounding the Town Chief’s decision while in upper Nimba County electoral district #2, about 706 persons did not cast their ballot and in lower Nimba, additional 290 eligible voters in district #2 were also denied due to the lack of polling staff at those precincts.
Another incident which is a challenge is that at the Tappita Memorial School, two of the NEC temporary staff confiscated the ballot boxes bearing the original seal for what they referred to as safe keeping
NEC Chairperson further disclosed that in Grand Gedeh County, in electoral District #3 at a Public school, precinct code #15001 with one polling center of 430 registered voters, residents did not vote on instruction from their kinsmen that the ballot papers did not bear the name of the county.
The NEC chairperson assured that inspite of those challenges, the affected electorates in those counties should be patient as election will be conducted in the said areas and will be released to the public subsequently.
Despite the prevailing information released on yesterday, the NEC has congratulated all registered voters for their peaceful turnout at the polls to exercise their political franchise in a smooth manner across Liberia, revealing that in most places voting, the process started in time and the counting of ballots followed immediately following the close of the polling centers.
As usual, NEC explained that the counting of the ballot papers were done in the presence of the candidates’ representatives, the media and other observers and that the results from each polling precinct was recorded on a document known as the “Record of the count” while the original of each count was placed in a Tampered Evident Envelope (TEE) and sent to the Magistrate’s office for electronic tabulation into the NEC’s software.
She disclosed further that the two candidates with the highest number votes received copies of the counted ballots while a copy is being posted on the walls outside each polling precinct for public access adding, “The tallying of votes across the country began on Wednesday, December 8, followed by the releasing of preliminary results,” NEC Boss told media.