By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
Considering the 2011 voter registration and the 2014 voter roll update exercises, the total number of qualified voters in the country now stands at 1,903,229, says the National Elections Commission (NEC).
Out of this number, 986,190 or 52% are males while 917,039 or 48% are females. During the 2011 exercise, 1,798,930 Liberians were eligible to vote. In this 2014, 104,710 voters registered during the voter roll update exercise.
At a press conference held yesterday, NEC Chair, Jerome G. Korkoya told journalists that based on this result; Montserrado County has the highest number of registered voters totaling 649,484 or 34% followed by Nimba County with 241,903 registered voters or 13%. Bong and Lofa Counties have 178,866 and 164, 203 0r 9% each respectively.
Conversely, Chairman Korkoya disclosed that Rivercess and River Gee Counties have the lowest number of registered voters recorded at 31,550 and 31,515 or 2% each respectively.
For the purpose of the voter roll update exercise, Cllr. Korkoya explained that NEC targeted an estimated number of 400,000 eligible Liberians. Of that number, 250,000 were first time voters while the remaining 150,000 were registered voters who had relocated and needed to be captured in their current areas of residency.
According to Chairman Korkoya, immediately following the voters roll update activity, the NEC announced provisional results. During that announcement, the NEC informed the public that out of the total number of 250,000 new registrants targeted, 104,710 were registered. He added that of the 150,000 registered voters targeted to be relocated to their current areas of residency, 44,000 were captured.
Irrespective of the fact that the Commission put into place all necessary measures to achieve its objective, including the provision of basic logistics as well as awareness activities carried out by several CSOs, CBOs, community and national media institutions, civic educators, town criers, Korkoya said NEC did not achieve this target based on several factors, principal amongst which is voters apathy.
Chairman Korkoya also used the occasion to announce that NEC will conduct the process for the nomination of candidates from July 2 to 24, 2014.
During the nomination period, the NEC boss said individuals who are interested in contesting the election on the tickets of registered political parties, coalitions and alliances as well as independent candidates will be required to follow the nomination procedures recently published by NEC in local dailies and on its website.
When asked as to how much the Commission has received in terms of financial allotment, Chairman Korkoya announced that so far NEC has received more than US$5m for preparation ahead of the pending October 2014 special senatorial election.