Observers Want Pre-marked Ballot Papers Saga Probed

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The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), has cautioned the National Elections Commission (NEC) to launch an investigation in pre-marked ballot papers allegations treading in the media on Election Day to avoid post-electoral crisis.

ECC is a civil society platform, comprising 30 organizations that observers all aspects of the electoral process in Liberia, including the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
In ECC latest report released Tuesday December 26, 2017, Oscar Bloh, Chairman of ECC said; “NEC investigate on reports of pre-marked ballot papers and provide timely information on the outcome of these investigations,” he said.

He said though said allegation didn’t emanate from ECC’s 475 observers deployed across country, but such ‘frightening’ allegation which said to have instilled uncertainty in the outcome of the election is already in the public domain must be probed.

ECC also used the press conference to warn political parties in the Presidential runoff polls to refrain from making any premature announcement of results and channel grievances through the appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks.

Early Tuesday morning, Unity Party’s Spokesperson of the Campaign Team Mohammed Ali drew the attention of International Community, stakeholder to reports that voters purportedly given pre-marked ballot papers on candidate #2 which indicates Senator George Weah across the country.

Mo Ali who mentioned one center that he (Mo Ali) had controlled over asserted; “Let it claim the attention of the international Community that voters have been given pre-marked ballot papers. On the ballots, candidate #2 is already marked and this was done by NEC poll work,” he said.

But in response to Unity Party’s allegation, NEC denied such report and described as false and misleading. “The information provided by UP is false and malicious. The ballot paper issuer while trying to stamp the ballot paper mistakenly touched the ink on the paper. The ballot paper was displayed to all present and marked spoiled, placed in a specified enveloped.

However, ECC said findings received from 475 of its observers out of the 498 Rapid Response Observers deployed to polling places proportionally nationwide showed that NEC is improving.
ECC said findings showed that NEC conducted peaceful and orderly poll without any major incident recorded.

“ECC observed a slow turnout so far. The ECC Observers report show that the queues observed in the first managed in comparison to the poor managements of the queues in the first round. Queue controllers are more visible and providing assistance to voters,’ Mr. Bloh said.
Writes Alex Yomah