NEC Formally Allows Magistrates to Hold Elections; Sets July 24 as Deadline to Nominate Candidates

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The National Elections Commission has issued the writs of elections to the 19 elections magistrates across the country. The process means that the magistrates now have the authority to hold the 2017 elections in the country’s 73 electoral districts.

Liberia’s constitution mandates that the vacancies for the offices of the president and representatives of the legislature will be created in January 2018 due to the expiration of their six-year terms.

The issuance of the writs on Tuesday is in line with the elections law and it was performed at the instruction of the NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya by the clerk of writs, Antoinette Johnson, at the commission’s headquarters in Monrovia.

“Now therefore, I do command each of you to conduct, in your respective counties in the Republic of Liberia, the 2017 general elections for the offices of the president and the House of Representatives for said counties on the 10th day of October, 2017 from the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,” Johnson said.

Speaking on behalf of the 19 elections magistrates, Vopea Gonglo, the magistrate for Lower Montserrado, assured NEC and the public that they would remain committed to conducting credible, free, fair and transparent elections.

Korkoya also set July 24 as the last day for nomination of candidates by duly registered political parties, alliances, coalitions, and independent candidates.

Giving updates on the data entry process of the recent voter registration exercise across the country, Korkoya said that currently, the commission has received and recorded a total of 2,153,972 forms submitted during the voter registration period.

He said of the total amount, 1,802,572 forms have been scanned.

“Of the total number of scanned forms, 1,482,366 have been processed. By processed, [I mean] the forms have been scanned, validated, [and have] gone through quality checks and then archived,” he disclosed.

The NEC boss further disclosed that women currently account for 48 percent of the registrants based on the total processed forms. He expressed confidence that NEC would have the provisional voter roll ready for exhibition on June 12 to 17, 2017. During that time, individuals can notify NEC if they notice any fraudulent issues with specific registered voters.

Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is currently a senior student at the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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