Liberia: Senatorial Candidate Steve Tequah Wants Election Reconducted in Polling Place 1 While Ballots from 104 Polling Places are Recounted

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MONROVIA – Mr. Steve Tequah, one of the candidates in the December 8 Special Senatorial Election in Rivercess County has filed a Bill of Information with the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) seeking a rerun election in Neezoin, Precinct 36009 polling place 1 and at the same time recount ballots cast in 104 polling places in the county.

Mr. Tequah’s request to the NEC Board stems from the realization that he obtained 80 votes (35.7%) of 228 votes from seven polling places deemed to be invalid after a recount in those areas.

The recount in the seven polling places were necessitated by a ruling from the NEC Board of Commissioners on January 11 in seven of the 111 polling places.

Tequah came second to Mr. Wellington Gevon Smith in the senatorial election. However, after the recount in seven polling places, he, of the nine candidates, obtained 80 valid votes of the votes deemed invalid. This, he believes validates the form voter suppression and supports his contention that his votes were denied throughout Rivercess County. He asserted that such is also a denial of his constitutional rights found in Article 1 and 77(a).

He also disclosed that during the recount in Neezoin polling place one, center code 36009 with closing seals with number 274017, 474019, and 474016 were broken and replaced with new seals numbered 274022, 274034, and 274023. He noted that the original seals on the ballot boxes on December 8, 2020 were not broken.

According to him, he requested for a complaint form during the recount by was informed by the recount manager, Paye M. Toekpu, that there was no complaint form and he was constrained to file a hand-written complaint for said irregularity.

He stated in the Bill of Information: “Informant says that even though the Board of Commissioners in being hesitant in ordering total recount, but out of the total invalid votes of 1166 in Rivercess County for the Special Senatorial Election of December 8, 2020, the recount of only 228 of 7 places invalid votes, huge votes were accumulated for all of the candidates with the Informant accumulating 80 valid votes or 35.7%. If this trench is continued and the balance 104 polling places are recounted, it is obvious that the contentions contained Informant/Petitioner’s petition clearly shows that his valid votes were declared invalid.”

He added that “an emerging democratic nation like ours, it is binding on us to uphold the true decision of the voters which is the exercise of their constitutional rights in consonance with Article 1 & 77(a) o the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which clearly surround the rights of the voters to determine their leaders. Informant says it is based on these irregularities that Neezoin will need a rerun while recount be will prudent for the entire county of Rivercess constituting the balance 104 polling places ballot boxes which are currently stationed in Cestos City based on the recount results from 7 polling places.”

He contended that the Special Senatorial Election was a simple majority election, therefore, results emanating from the election must be fair and transparent so as to clearly interpret the aspiration of the people and the true representation of the majority of the people of Rivercess County.

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