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Blogs: Liberia Elections Editorial
An Inexcusable Mistake
Friday 28th October 2011

The world knows who came ahead in the October 11, 2011 election. On October 25, 2011 the Chairman of the National Elections Commission, James Fromayan, gave the final and definitive report on the outcome of the poll. He proclaimed that of the 1,798,930 registered voters, 1,288,716 voted in the elections, representing an impressive 71.6 percent voter turnout.

Of the total votes, Chiarman Fromayan continued, “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party obtained 530,020 votes equating to 43.9% while Winston Tubman of the Congress for Democrtaic Change obtained 394,320 votes, amounting to 32.9%.

From the preparations for the referendum and the elections, until the conduct of the referendum had, NEC received praises from the Liberian people and institutions throughout the world for a job well done.

But as in all human affairs, mistakes were made. The first big one was on one of the ballot for the referendum. On proposition number 3, calling for a change in the Constitution regarding the retirement age of Supreme Court Justices, the figures should have been from 70 years to 75 years. But the ballot showed 70years to 75 years. That confused the public and helped lead to the defeat of that proposition.

Insufficent voter education, despite NEC’s vigorous efforts, was another problem that caused many to shy away from the referendum poll.

These mistakes aside, over 4,000 national and nearly 1,000 foreign monitoring groups declared the elections “free, fair, tarnsparent and credible”. That included both the voting and the counting of the votes.

Daily Observer
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