Liberia: Senate Judiciary Chair Proposes Dropping Voter Registration for Mid Term Elections

Senator Varney Sherman(Unity Party, Grand Cape Mount) is proposing that the voter registration requirement be ignore at least for the 2020 Senatorial Mid Term elections.

Monrovia- One of the requirements for conducting elections set by a constitutional date is to update the voter registration which means, people who were not 18 years or above during the past election would have the opportunity to register and vote in future elections.

However, according to Senator Varney Sherman(Unity Party, Grand Cape Mount County), chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has restricted movement of people and the normal way of life, thus making it difficult to raise the needed funds.

As a result, Senator Sherman is proposing that the voter registration requirement be ignore at least for the 2020 Senatorial Mid Term elections.

Said Senator Sherman: “Is it possible that eventhough some people are eligible for voting, we forego this because of COVID-19 and for us to suspend voter registration update and insist that voter registration update is done for the Presidential and general election for 2023?”

The Grand Cape Mount Senator said: “If this is possible it could be obtained by getting the consensus of the various political actors and also the money business and the virus and plead with them to see good reason to suspend voter registration for the 2020 mid-term senatorial election.”

In the   NEC Policy Paper No. 4, Civil and Voter Registration Voter registration is often considered as the most technically complex, costly and time-consuming aspect of an election process.

The right to vote is conditioned on the need for citizens to register as voters. Voter registration is done to establish that all electors fulfil the eligibility requirements to vote and subsequently to ensure that they only vote once.

Usually, a Voter Register – or ‘Voter Roll’ – is compiled listing the names of all duly registered voters. Lists of voters registered at each polling place (‘voter lists’) are extracted from the Voter Roll.

Periodic Voter Register

In the same policy paper, a periodic (or temporary) register of voters is one established for a specific election and a new Voter’s Roll is produced for each election. Normally, the enumeration of data takes place close to the election. This system is time-consuming and requires the active participation of citizens in each election process.

This system is used most often where the State does not have the capacity or infrastructure to maintain a permanent register of voters or a reliable Civil Register.

As the legislative debate continues, the committee is expected to host officials of the Ministry of Finance and Development planning on Monday, May 25, 2020 to inquire the possibilities of allowing the National Elections Commission to borrow from vendors whom they have dealt with over the years.