MONROVIA – The Unity Party (UP) has expressed deep concern and dissatisfaction with a recent press statement from the National Elections Commission (NEC). The NEC has called on its polling staff to reject and discontinue the practice of reading out voters’ names during the polling process, a move deemed by the UP as a direct affront to specific sections of the new elections law.
The Unity Party referenced Sections 5.4 and 5.6 of the new elections law which mandates that voters entering a polling place must state their names to the Voter Identification Officer (VIO). The UP says it believes that this process ensures transparency and allows party agents to verify the accuracy of the voter list provided by the NEC. In a communication to the NEC on October 24, 2023, the UP had informed the Commission of its intention to issue hard copies of the Final Registration Roll (FRR) to poll watchers for further verification.
However, the NEC’s recent decision to discontinue this voter verification process has left the UP questioning the Commission’s motives. The UP contends that, with a three-foot distance, party agents would have ample opportunity to hear the names of voters and cross-reference them with the FRR to ensure accuracy. The abrupt change in procedure has fueled speculation within the UP that certain elements within the NEC may be conspiring to manipulate the electoral process.
The UP has officially rejected the NEC’s directive and is calling on the Commission to uphold the law as promised during a previous meeting with both the Unity Party and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). The party perceives the timing of the NEC’s statement, released in the midst of the polling process, as an attempt to disrupt and undermine the credibility and integrity of the runoff election.
The NEC today issued a statement expressing worry about reported incidents where party agents are demanding polling staff to read out voters’ names before casting their votes. The NEC viewed this practice as a direct violation of established polling and counting procedures, emphasizing its potential to compromise voter privacy and the secrecy of the voting process.
The NEC categorically denied any existence of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with political parties regarding the reading of voters’ names and cross-referencing them against the FRR. The Commission insisted that such practices contradict its established procedures and urges political parties to refrain from engaging in activities that could jeopardize the fairness and integrity of the electoral process.