LIBERIA: Supreme Court orders Rerun at Two Polling Places IN MARYLAND


The Supreme Court of Liberia has ordered the National Elections Commission(NEC) to conduct a rerun of the October 10, 2023, representative election in two polling places only, Precinct Code #27020 in Old Sodokan, District Number Two, Maryland County.
The Supreme Court pointed out that the decision of the NEC to have dismissed Bhofal Chambers’s contention, without considering issues raised about violence by traditional people during the polling process, was unfair.
Even though the Supreme Court noted that the election was not conducted for District Number Two Maryland County alone, for the Republic of Liberia and voters were to vote for all the candidates and various positions, the court said there were nine candidates and each political party would have had poll watchers, Chambers failed to produce any of these poll watchers to prove his claims of ballot stuffing.
However, the court noted that the threat of violence by traditional people to scare away voters had a severe threat on the district elections, especially at the two polling places named in Old Sodokan since there were narrow margins.
Therefore, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Youh ruled that the NEC should conduct a rerun at two polling places only, polling places number one and two of Polling Precinct Code: 27020, in Old Pleebo Sodokan District.
According to Justice Youh, the rerun should be conducted under a straight security presence.
At the same time, the Supreme Court has also ordered the NEC to set aside the results from other polling places, while the rerun is being conducted at the two polling places.
Old Sodokan is reportedly a stronghold of Anthony Willams, Chambers’s major contender in the Representative race of Maryland County District Number Two.
He told the media that despite he did not expect such a ruling from the Supreme Court, he will put in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure that he maintains his victory.
Speaker Chambers had complained to the Supreme Court, the NEC decision to dismiss claims raised about the alleged discrepancy in the Maryland County District Number Two Representative election, favoring Anthony Williams.
He appealed to the Supreme Court, to determine whether the NEC decision was legally appropriate.
NEC declared Anthony Williams as the winner of the election, but in a letter dated October 23, 2023, Chambers complained to NEC that there was a discrepancy in the process leveling several claims.
He said there were strange people in the polling places after the closing period of the poll and polling was also allowed to go on after 10 pm.
According to Chambers, the CDC was denied participation in the final counting process, and there was violence by transitional people who unleashed the country’s devil.
He complained to the NEC hearing office and then the Board of Commissioner relative to said allegations and a hearing was duly conducted and a ruling made in favor of Williams that Chambers had no sufficient evidence to his allegation, declaring Anthony Williams a winner.
However, Chambers took an exception to the NEC’s decision and filed 36 counts to the Supreme Court to decide.
The Supreme Court however noted that some of the counts mentioned by Chambers in his complaint were duplicated.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court further noted, that from the review of the record, the NEC response provided no basis for the answer to allegations made by Representative Chambers.
Nonetheless, the court says, the “disappointing response” of NEC in no way gives rights to Chambers’s allegations, since Chambers was also under obligation to produce substantial and cogent evidence of his allegation and that mere allegation is not proof.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court said despite most of the claims by Chambers lacking basis, the actions of traditional people steering violence must not be ruled out, since there is a closed margin of votes between the two contenders.

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