Liberia: National Elections Commission Postpones Date for Voter Registration
Monrovia – The National Elections Commission (NEC) has with immediate effect postponed the Voter’s Registration process that was previously set for December 15, 2022, a statement from the NEC has revealed.
The postponement comes barely weeks after the NEC sent a request for “No Objection” to Liberia’s Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), to award a contract to Laxton Groups for the use of a Biometric Voter-Identification system to prevent electoral fraud and chaos during the 2023 legislative and presidential elections.
By: Edwin G. Genoway
The NEC says it’s developing a new timeline detailing the voter registration schedule, which will be communicated to the public in the soonest possible time.
In a press statement dated Monday December 05, 2022, the election body said: “The NEC assures the Liberian populace that the 2023 electoral process is on course and the Commission remains committed to conducting free fair and credible election in October 2023.”
Recently, the US government sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting a specimen of the 2023 national Voter Registration (VR) card, which is expected to be biometric.
The American government, through its international development agency (USAID), provides support to the election’s management body; as such, it is concerned about American taxes being spent appropriately and judiciously.
The diplomatic note, according to sources at the National Elections Commission (NEC), was issued in response to the electoral body’s decision to award EKEMP, a Chinese company, the contract for the supply and delivery of biometric equipment, software, and materials for the 2023 voter registration exercise.
EKEMP is based in Shenzhen, China. It claims on its website that it focuses on digital biometric security identification, and now counts the NEC as a technical partner, a move that suggests that they have been awarded the biometric contract.
The NEC has for years been under pressure to dash its optical manual registration (OMR) system. The OMR system, for many, does not improve the accountability and transparency of electoral processes and is usually tainted by controversy and mistrust. In a biometric voting system, the voters are registered based on their unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and even facial recognition.