LIBERIA: INVALID VOTES WAHALA

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The Women’s Situation Room (WSR) has expressed deep concerned worried over the influx of invalid votes across the country, saying the inadequacy of civic and voter education before the October 10 Presidential and legislative elections can be blamed for the staggering 114,639 invalid votes which represented 5.88% of the total votes.

Presentation the Women’s Situation Room elections observation finding on Thursday, October 26, 2023, the Initiator of the WSR and Establishment Coordinator of the Angie’s Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership development International Peace and Security Cllr. Cyvette Cheeson-Wureh described cvic and Voter Education (CVE) as paramount to democracy and national decision making.

” The inadequacy of civic and voter education before the October 10 general elections can be blamed for the staggering 114,639 invalid votes which represented 5.88% of the total votes. NEC informed Liberians that first-time voters constituted a little over 20 percent of registered voters – a figure which pointed to the priority of Civic and Voter Education” Cllr. Cheeson-Wureh stated.

According to her, while the WSR Talking Bus was deployed to its 7 active counties for such education, NEC together with other stakeholders needed to scale up CVE efforts to ensure voters were sufficiently informed.

“WSR is calling on NEC and partners to boost CVE ahead of the runoff election in a much more decentralised manner to raise awareness through door-to-door visits, radio talk shows, TV programmes, jingles, and dialogues with politically marginalised people such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities. The Talking Bus will once more be deployed by the WSR to our 7 counties to assist in the Civic and Voter Education as we wait for the runoff election. See more detail on last page” she urged.

Meanwhile, releasing Policing Campaign Activities, the WSR believes that the responsibility of peaceful and non-provocative campaign activities lies with the political parties scheduled for the presidential runoff election.

According to Cllr. Cheeson-Wureh, devout partisans from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Unity Party (UP) listen and follow directions which trickle down to them from their party’s leadership as well as the managers of the political campaigns.

“Given the regretful bloody clashes of some campaign activities including that of 8th October between the CDC and ALCOP where injuries were sustained and properties were lost, including damage to one WSR vehicle, the WSR is calling on CDC and UP to police their campaign activities. It should not be recorded that this ugly history be repeated during the preparatory activities of the presidential runoff elections because lessons were not learned from the mistakes of the past” she stated.

Finally, the WSR said that it’s impressed upon CDC and UP to prioritize the peace of the country above all else.

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