Liberia: Referendum Fails to Meet Constitutional Requirement for Passage
MONROVIA – The National Elections Commission on Thursday announced that none of the eight propositions of the December 8, 2020 Referendum met the constitutional two-thirds requirement.
According to the NEC chairman Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Section 4A.4 of the Elections Law, under referendum Result, states:
“The fraction of two-thirds (2/3) required for approval of a question in a referendum is calculated by dividing the number of valid votes cast in approval of the question by the total number of the valid votes cast on the question.”
She also referenced the Supreme Court September 20, 2011 ruling which states that invalid votes shall not be included in the sum of the total votes and in keeping with the ruling, the total valid votes cast by adding all of the “Yes votes to all of the “No votes”. Of this sum, you have to ascertain whether the yes votes on each proposition reach the two-thirds requirement for approval. If they do, the proposition is approved. If not, the proposition is rejected.
“Because the referendum is a national election — the “Yes and No votes from the 15 Counties (on each proposition) must be added together to determine whether the yes votes reach the two-thirds requirement for approval. This process will be done for each of the proposition.”
Article 91 of the Liberians Constitution provides that in order for a proposition to be ratified, two thirds of those voting in the referendum must vote in favor. Section 4A.4 of the Elections Law states that:
The fraction of two thirds (2/3) required for approval of a question in a referendum is calculated by dividing the number of valid votes cast in approval of the question by the total number of the valid votes cast on the question.
On September 20, 2011, the Honorable Supreme Court, in its opinion on the challenge to the result of the referendum of 2011 held that invalid votes shall not be included in the sum of the total votes.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, fellow Liberians, the Commission is pleased to announce that based on the results of the 2020 referendum, none of the eight propositions met the constitutional threshold of two thirds.”
On December 8, 2020, Liberians throughout the country cast their votes in the 8 propositions to amend certain articles of the Liberian constitution. Thereafter the votes were tallied and the referendum results from 14 counties were announced.
However, the referendum result from Gbarpolu County could not be announced because the voting in Nomodatouno was disrupted. Consequently, the NEC conducted the Special Senatorial Elections, SSE, and referendum elections in Nomodatouno on January 7, 2021. A complaint was filed which resulted a stay order being placed on the announcement of the result from Gbarpolu, until the compliant could be disposed of.