LIBERIA-August 06,2020-WTVNEWS: The National Elections Commission (NEC) on Tuesday, 04,2020, released progressive updates on the timing of this year’s special senatorial elections and Constitutional Referendum in accordance with the legislative decision.
In a press statement, Hon. Davidetta Browne Lansanah; chair of the NEC, disclosed to journalists that “in early May 2020, the Commission wrote the Executive and Legislative branches of the Government, advising of the unfeasibility of holding the elections on October 13th, and requested the National Legislature to set a new date within December of this year for the holding of the elections.”
Having received the topsy endorsement of the various parastatals of the Government of Liberia including the legislative branch of Government, NEC officially informed the public that the Legislature has, in Joint Resolution #003/2020, set December 8, 2020 as the new date for the conduct of the elections. The constitutional Referendum will also be held on the same date.
Below is an important excerpt of the statement released by the commission through the readership of commissioner Davidetta Browne Lansanah at the press conference held on Tuesday, 04,August,2020:
“With the new date, the Commission has readjusted the Timeline of activities, particularly the Key Dates and same are being shared with political parties and other stakeholders. We will also give you copies instantly following this update on the Special Senatorial Election.
The Commission will carry out civic and voter education on the principles of the VRU. Some core objectives of the VRU are to ensure that Liberians who have reached the age of 18 and qualified under the laws of Liberia are captured on the Roll. Also, Liberians who did not register in 2017 during the nationwide voter registration will have the chance to be captured on the Roll.
As per our Timeline and considering the relevance of the Fourth Estate, we will conduct a workshop for the media on the principles of the VRU.
Operations (Preparatory activities ahead of VRU)
For the purpose of the 2020 SSE, the Commission will carry out a Voter Roll Update (VRU). As part of the Key Dates, the VRU, under the circumstance will last for two weeks, from September 1-15, 2020.
The VRU process will be mobile; meaning the Commission’s Team of Registrars will move in sequence from one Center to another, covering the 2080 registration Centers across the Country. Each Team will comprise a Registrar, Clerk, Shader, and Photographer. Each Team will cover a maximum of four Centers. A Team will be led by a Supervisor, and each Team will stay three days at each location.
We have completed an assessment of all 2080 Precincts or voting Centers throughout the Country. This is a cardinal preparatory requirement to the entire election process. We have made the necessary changes and approval of the Centers for the conduct of the mobile registration.
“Let me emphasize that some of the structures used as Centers during the 2017 registration have been changed and renamed. However, as per our normal procedure, the new Centers are within the same localities. The Commission will duly inform citizens of the 2080 registration Centers to be used during this 2020 VRU”.
Our Training Section has completed the development of the VRU Training Procedures Manual. Importantly, the current Manual captures all necessary Coronavirus Health Protocols, as mandated by the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and ECOWAS. This has paved the way for the training of thousands of temporary election staff across the Country.
Prior to the Outbreak of the Coronavirus, we, along with UNDP, oversaw a dialogue whereby the Political Parties deliberated and finalized the Political Parties Code of Conduct. We look forward to doing the same for the Media before the start of the VRU. We have also completed the inspection of the Political Parties Headquarters.
The Commission is on course with local and international procurement. Currently, a Printing and Publishing International Vendor, AlGhurair, has shipped from Dubai the Optimal Mark Recognition Forms (OMR forms), which are used for capturing of registrants’ data during the Voter Roll Update.
A local Vendor, Unique Enterprise has procured Data Processing Equipment, including Laptops, for our Data Center. Three brand new Servers have been procured, delivered, and installed in our Data Center where we store data captured during the Voter Roll Update.
Let me also report that the UNDP, with support from the Swedish Embassy, a few weeks ago donated Information Communication and Technology (ICT) materials including 72 Batteries for the Server Battery Bank, Security Locks, and National Access Storage (NAS). The items also included Air conditioners (24,000 and 12, 000 BTU). All of which prepare our Data Center ahead the Voter Roll Update and the polls.
Candidates Nomination Period
The nomination period for aspirants intending to contest the SSE will run from September 1 thru 21, 2020.
SSE and Referendum Campaign Period
The campaign period for both the SSE and Referendum will start October 10, and end on December 6, 2020.”
The commissioner closed by recognize the efforts of major stakeholders, the 28 registered political parties for their continuous engagements within and outside of the Inter-Party Consultative Committee (IPCC). NEC assured that going forward it will sustain these ties for the common good of Liberia. It also extended a debt of gratitude to international partners including UNDP, Iris Aid/Iris Embassy, Sweden, Canada, EU, US Embassy and others, towards the conduct of the elections
Commissioner Lansanah confirmed that To date, the Commission has received a combined total of US$2,000,786.00, comprising of US$1,200,471.60 and L$158,887,373.59.
“AS we approach the September 1-15, 2020 Voter Roll Update, the Commission assures you that the staff continues to work assiduously to rollout planned activities for the update and the SSE and Referendum. The Commission remains committed to conducting free, transparent, fair and credible VRU, SSE and Referendum.” Commissioner Davidetta Browne Lansanah concluded.