Liberia: Polling Staff Admits to Voter Fraud in Rivercess County
Cestos City, Rivercess County- A polling staff identified as Rancy Fanciah, assigned in Rivercess County has admitted that over 40 valid votes belonging to senatorial candidate Steve Tequah were counted invalid.
Mr. Tequah, who came second in the race behind former Superintendent Wellington Gevon Smith, the declared winner, had complained that several votes cast in his favor were marked invalid at several polling places in the county.
Fanciah, who served as a presiding officer at the Wruah Town voting precinct, is heard telling the Election Magistrate of Rivercess County in an audio recording that the polling staff were forced to declare Mr. Tequah’s votes invalid because of pressure from some of Mr. Smith’s supporters.
According to him, because of the absent of security personnel at his center and for fear of his and staff’s lives, he decided to place the votes as invalid and later informed the candidate of the situation.
“Following the close of the voting process, we decided to do sorting and counting at which time we called the attention of the parties’ agents. When we started the counting, there were ballots that some voters marked the candidate’s face or logo and I told the agents that said ballots should be counted as valid but some of them insisted that it was invalid and because they were more than us and we had no security at the center, we had to count it as invalid,” Fanciah was heard explaining in the audio.
In the wake of Fanciah’s revelation, Mr. Tequah immediately filed a complaint to NEC’s local office in Rivercess but was denied audience by the Election Magistrate in the area, David Logan on grounds that the document was not filed within the statutory period.
Tequah, then filed a Bill of Exception before the Hearing Officer at the National Elections Commission’s office in Monrovia, claiming irregularities in the counting process and requesting a recount at the Wruah Town Voting Precinct.
According to the NEC, Tequah came second in the county’s senatorial race behind declared winner Wellington Gevon Smith with 116 votes.