Liberia: Elections Commission Bars Use of Mobile Phones at Voting Precincts

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MONROVIA – The Montserrado County by-elections started with a rare restriction – no mobile phones allowed. This was never seen during previous elections.

From the onset, the restriction had no limits, even journalists and poll observers from the political parties were not permitted to enter the precincts with phones.

But the Communications Director of the National Elections Commission, Mr. Henry Flomo, told FrontPageAfrica that there is a law that prohibits voters from using their phones during voting. He, however, did not cite the portion of the law with such prohibition.

Mr. Flomo said from the onset, poll workers misunderstood the restriction and were barring everyone, but the NEC, according to him, has clarified to them that poll workers, observers and journalists should be allowed to use their phones.

Abraham Darius Dillon, the collaborating opposition political parties senatorial candidate, told FrontPageAfrica that the restriction on mobile phones was agreed to by stakeholders in the election to avoid civil servants from being put under duress to show who they voted for.

“I think it would play for both sides because civil servants would feel free to vote without being pressured to show who they voted for. We learned that one of the reasons why people didn’t turn out at our rally was because they were afraid of people taking their pictures which could lead to them losing their jobs. So, we agreed that no phones allowed so people would come out and feel free to vote,” Dillon told FrontPageAfrica.

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