Liberia: NEC Clarifies Use of National ID Cards As Proof of Citizenship to the Biometric Voter Registration
MONROVIA – The National Elections Commission (NEC) has clarified that the National ID cards issued by the National Identification Registry would not be the only or primary proof of citizenship during the Biometric Voter Registration for the October elections.
The NEC’s clarification comes amid concerns by some citizens and political parties that many eligible voters, especially in the leeward counties, may not have any official documentation to prove citizenship. The political parties had informed FrontPageAfrica they would resist any move by the NEC to insist on using National IDs for voter registration.
“By having the National ID Card before someone can register, it would be a disservice and it would disadvantage our people, especially in the rural areas, and even in urban areas. There are many people in Montserrado that have not taken National ID Card,” said Amos Tweh, Secretary General of the Unity Party.
The Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties which comprise the Liberty Party and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) said they would not accept anything outside the constitutional requirements.
However, according to the NEC, Liberians 18 years and above are to only physically appear at the registration centers and register.
According to the NEC, it has no plan to subject eligible Liberians to verification except when doubt arises as to a person posing to be a Liberian.
The Commission notes that Section 3.1 ((a) thru (e)) of the New Elections Law (as amended on 15 December 2014), says, the Principal means of verifying whether a person is a citizen of Liberia, a valid Liberian Passport, a birth certificate, a certificate of neutralization, a sworn statement by two registered voters or confirmation by a Liberian Traditional leader, may be requested to prove Liberian citizenship.
The New Elections Law further empowers the National Elections Commission to issue regulations to establish the procedures in which these means and any other means the NEC deems necessary and appropriate, will be approved.
The NEC: “It is against this backdrop that the Commission now includes the National Identification Registry (NIR) Card as one of the several means of verification if and only where nationality or age is in question. This is far from being a prerequisite for voter registration.”