NEC Accuses Parties’ Agents …Of Disrupting Tallying Process

A political parties and Independent Candidates remain eager to get the results of the just-ended Presidential and legislative Elections, the national Elections Commission (NEC) has accused agents of political parties of creating tension at the tally center.

NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Brown-Lansanah has accused some political parties and candidate agents assigned at the Montserrado County tally center of causing tensions to disrupt the process whenever the numbers are unfavorable.

“They unplugged our projectors, parading all over the place, and saying that this thing will not happen today,” Lansanah said. She added, “We have had to call the Ministry of Justice through the Liberia National Police to bolster security there and ensure that all who went to the tally center, including the staff of NEC wear their tags so that we can identify those who are coming in, including observers.”

According to her, due to the disruption, the commission lost more than three hours on both October 12, and October 13, as the process was halted for two hours.

“Members of the press, as the tally process continues, the commission continues to face challenges with the actions of some representatives of political parties and candidates who intermittently disrupt the process whenever they disagree on any issue,” she said at the commission’s weekly press briefing.

Tallying is a part of the electoral process and begins after the Tamper-Evident Envelopes (TEEs) arrive at the Commission’s magisterial offices from voting precincts with the presence of agents from political parties and candidates.

Electoral magistrates are responsible for organizing the tally in their respective magisterial areas. The magistrate will monitor the tally to ensure that proper procedures are followed at all times.

The disruption, according to the head of Lansanah, has “caused the commission and the nation valuable time and created unnecessary tension at the Montserrado County Tally Center.”

“You know, in everything we do, there are procedures. The records of the count have a procedure for arriving at all the numbers that are there. The problem some of the party agents deal with is that when these numbers are favorable to them, they allow the process to go on, but when the numbers are not favorable to them, they disrupt the process.

“And they bring all kinds of technicality,” Lansanah added.”They do not want to accept that we have a procedure to arrive at the numbers on the record of the count, and the record of the count shows votes that were obtained by the candidates but shows the reconciliation of the ballots. So there is a procedure they need to follow.”

The Commission calls on political parties and candidates to ensure that their representatives at the tally center remain civil and make use of the law by documenting whatever complaints they have using the complaint form available at the tally center.

Additionally, the Commission has disclosed that polling was conducted in the five precincts in SinoeCounty on October 12, completing the conduct of elections in 81 precincts in Sinoe County.

“The commission is pleased to inform Liberia that polling was conducted in the outstanding precincts in Sinoe County on October 12, completing the conduct of elections in 81 precincts in Sinoe County.”

At the close of voting, the votes cast at each polling place were counted in the presence of agents of the parties and candidates, as well as independent observers.

The vote(s) cast for each candidate were then recorded on a five-page carbon copy document known as the Record of the Count. Parties’ agents were asked to sign each Record of the Count for the presidential, senatorial, and representative ballots cast.

The information written on the carbon copy document, which is the original sheet of the count, appears on the bottom of four sheets, with the original sheet then placed in a tamper-evident envelope in the presence of the parties/candidates’ agents and observers.

The second sheet is then placed in the ballot box and sealed, with the serial numbers of the seals made known to the parties’/candidates’ agents and independent observers.

The third sheet is what was posted on the wall of the polling place for public viewing, while the fourth sheet is given to the representative of the candidate who obtained the highest votes, and the fifth sheet is given to the representative of the candidate who obtained the second-highest votes.

At the end, the sealed ballot boxes and tamper-evident envelopes from the various polling places are escorted by security officers to the various NEC magisterial offices for tally/tabulation, which commenced on October 11. Parties’/candidates’ agents and independent observers are present during the tally.

First, the original of the Record of the Count is taken from the tamper-evident envelope, and copies are made for everyone present.

There is a projector in the tally room to show the result being typed from the Record of the Count for all to see. When the results for each polling place have been tallied, the information is printed, and parties’/candidates’ agents are asked to sign the tallied results, and copies of the signed results are distributed.

The saved results, which cannot be altered, are then sent from the Magisterial Office to the Data Center at the NEC headquarters, where the results sent from each county, in the case of the presidential election, are collated (totaled) and submitted to the Board of Commissioners for announcement.

The results announced by the Board can be easily verified using the records of the count from the various polling places, along with the signed tally sheets that will be distributed to parties/candidates’ agents and observers and posted for public viewing.

Meanwhile, the Commission has disclosed that polls have been conducted at the Beo Lontuo Public School in Electoral District 4 Nimba County, which comprises two polling places.

This comes after representative ballot boxes at the two polling places were stolen by unknown men. The ballot boxes were sealed and contained representative votes cast on October 10.

“The election Magistrate of upper Nimba County has reported that the representative ballot boxes at the polling places were stolen by unknown men. The ballot boxes were sealed and contained representative votes cast on October 10, 2023. The remaining four ballot boxes for the president and senate for the two polling places remain intact. Suspects are being arrested by the police who are expected to conduct an investigation.”

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