186,000 Ballot Papers For Bassa By-Election

Morrison O.G. Sayon

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced the arrival of 186,000 ballot papers for the ensuing Grand Bassa County By-Election.

Addressing a news conference yesterday in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, National Elections Commission Chairman, Jerome George Korkoya disclosed that 186,000 ballot papers arrived in the country from Accra, Ghana on April 28, 2013 and that they are now in the custody of the Commission under security provided by the Liberia National Police pending final packaging for distribution among the 336 polling places spread across the 176 voting precincts in Grand Bassa County.

Cllr. Korkoya noted, “Today, in line with our tradition of keeping you abreast of events in the lead-up to the By-election, NEC is pleased to inform the people of Grand Bassa County that ballot papers for the Senatorial By-election have arrived in the country.”

On the issue of logistical preparations, the NEC boss said Logistics planning is the essential support function for ensuring that equipment, staff and communication methods are in place in time for the successful conduct of elections.

“In this direction, we like to inform you that logistical preparations for the Grand Bassa County Senatorial By-election are well on schedule. The Commission’s logistics personnel and the Grand Bassa County Elections Magistrate Office staff will commence packaging and transporting polling materials from NEC’s Central Warehouse to the various polling places on May 3, 2013.”

Cllr. Korkoya said packaging of sensitive polling materials including ballot papers commenced yesterday, April 29, 2013 and the deployment of polling staff as well as sensitive materials which will be done between May 3 and May 7, 2013.

“Already, lanterns and an assortment of barrier tapes in addition to other non- sensitive materials are in Grand Bassa for the By-election. We should inform you also that the Commission has deployed a significant portion of its fleet of vehicles for the electoral process. Besides, additional twelve (12) Trucks have been hired to augment the transportation of electoral materials, poll workers and security personnel,” Cllr. Korkoya intimated.

He noted that about 16 canoes and the services of about 145 porters have been hired to ferry elections materials and staff across rivers in the county including other inaccessible areas. On the issue of political campaign, the NEC boss said the commission is satisfied with the peaceful manner in which the four (4) candidates in the Grand Bassa Senatorial By-election have conducted their campaign so far adding, “From reports gathered from our staff across the county, the candidates have been conducting their campaign throughout the county without any incident. The Commission acknowledges with thanks the efforts of the candidates aimed at encouraging voters to turn out in mass on Election Day.”

He said the responsible and peaceful manner in which the candidates and their supporters have so far conducted themselves during the campaign is certainly commendable and must be encouraged in the spirit of building a sustainable democratic culture in the country. Korkoya said on April 20, 2013, Mr. Liston B. Kieh, the Liaison Officer in the Independent camp of Candidate Daniel Chea filed a complaint against supporters of Mrs. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of the Liberty Party. He said the complainant alleged that Mrs. Lawrence’s supporters are on the rampage tearing down flyers of the Independent Candidate posted on buildings from the Farmington River to the City of Buchanan.

According to the NEC Chairman, the Hearing Officer has dismissed the complaint due to lack of sufficient evidence. At the same time, the Commission has admonished the candidates and their supporters to continue to exhibit the spirit of tolerance that has characterized their campaign so far and continue to conduct a non-violent campaign.

The Commission further reminded the candidates that the official campaign period for the Grand Bassa County Senatorial By-election which began on April 12, 2013, will close at midnight on May 5, 2013, Twenty-four (24) hours before polling day.

Among other things, he said the Commission, in collaboration with Radio Gbezhon with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), will organize a debate for the candidates in Buchanan City on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

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