By Washington Tumay Watson
Several Citizens have strongly criticized the National Elections Commission (NEC) for not conducting Civic Voters Education (CVE) across the country ahead of the November 14 presidential runoff election.
The citizens were speaking at an intellectual center in Paynesville when a coalition of youth organizations including the Youth of Churches United for Christ (YOCUC), Students Community Alliance (SCA) and Youth Against Violence (YAV) took the awareness on the Civic Voter’s Education to residents of Coca-cola Factory Community ahead of the November 14 presidential runoff election.
James Washington of the group noted that it was the civic duty of the National Elections Commission to educate the public on how to vote.
According to him, civil society organizations and community-based organizations are only there to buttress the NEC through support from their partners indicating that it is not a political party’s responsibility to create CVE awareness.
During the assembly, several Liberians who were at the center attributed the huge number of invalid voters during the October 10 legislative and presidential elections to NEC’s inability to educate the public concerning the voting process.
The National Elections Commission announced that during the October 10 polls, about 114,639 invalid votes which represented 5.88 percent of the total votes, something that raised concern from both political parties and observers including civil society organizations.
In an effort to mitigate such reoccurrence during the November 14 presidential poll, the two political parties are contesting in the runoff elections, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Unity Party intensified the CVE as part of their campaigning activities.
The political parties are concerned with the accumulation of more valid voters during the runoff elections unlike the October 10 polls.
Cecelia Morris told the citizens that it is not the duty of a political party to create awareness on CVE but the NEC through its department of Civil Voter Education and its partners the CSOS and CBOS.
According to her, political parties’ campaign on their manifestos and not to educate the voters on how to vote but said it was because of the NEC’s inability to implement its statutory responsibility to provide such education to the electorates.
She urged the NEC to do the needful and statutory duties to create CVE awareness across the country before the runoff election and not the two political parties that are vying in the runoff poll.