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Monday, April 22, 2024

Unity Party Wants Over 28,000 Voters Disenfranchised

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Main opposition Unity Party is opposing the participation of more than 20,000 registered voters in the October 10, presidential and legislative elections on grounds their presence on voting day will create over crowdedness.

The 28,000 voters are people UP lawyers claimed were registered in excess of the required threshold at 92 polling precincts across the country.

Unity Party filed a complaint against the National Election Commission with the Supreme Court, praying the Court to overturn the Commission’s decision to capture the excess voters on its register.

“At some of the precincts your honors (Supreme Court Jurists) for example, the Dorothy Cooper Elementary & Junior High School in Bong County, they have four thousand three hundred and forty nine (4349) registered voters an excess of  1349,” one of UP lawyers told the court.

The Party claims that the intent of the Elections Law to set the maximum number of voters at a polling precinct was to decongest precinct and allow voters an opportunity to vote without condition that will impede their voting.

The party argues that people who are physically challenged and virtually impaired will not stand over-crowded precincts where 4,349 registered voters are voting on election day from 8:00 in the morning (8: 00 AM) to 6:00 in the evening.

“We think when this is allowed, it will disenfranchise voters who by constitutional provision should be allowed to vote. This will directly negatively affect the Unity Party because thousands of our supports will not be allowed to vote,” the party contended.

For its part, the National Election Commission argued there is no violation of the law as it has been insinuated by the Unity Party.

NEC’s lawyer, Cllr. Micah Wilkin Wright said the general rule of the election says each polling precinct shall have 3,000 voters and where there is 4,000 voters in certain polling precincts, these citizens must be allowed to vote where they registered.

Cllr. Wright rhetorically asked, “Which scenario is likely to disenfranchise voters? Whether to change the voting precincts at the last minute or to allow them remain where they are and vote?”

He argued that to avoid denying any one from voting, NEC is asking citizens to stay to where they registered and vote.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh  asked UP lawyers: “What harm or injury could the Unity Party suffers besides congestion of polling precincts?”

The Chief Justice then said “for me, the greater harm would be to disenfranchise voters. So to come just at the eve of the election and raise these issues, it becomes so difficult for the Court.”

Chief Justice Yuoh however said the High Court having listened to both parties will come up with a decision that will be balanced and pray that the Liberian people will abide by the decision emanating from the Court

 

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