The chairperson of the National Elections Commission Davidetta Browne Lansanah has announced 23 April 2024 as date for the holding of by-elections in Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties.
Speaking at the official program marking the issuance of ‘Election Writ’ to magistrates of the two counties, Madam Lansanah said:
The National Elections Commission, on 1st February 2024, was notified by the Liberian Senate of the existence of a vacancy due to the election of former Nimba County Senator Jeremiah Koung as vice president on the Joseph Boakai presidential ticket, in the recently held Presidential and Legislative Elections of 10th October 2023 and the November 14, 2023 Presidential Run-off elections.
Similarly, on 2nd February 2024, the House of Representatives notified the commission of a vacancy due to the passing of Representative Erole Madison Gwion, Representative-elect of District #1, Grand Gedeh County who was elected during the 10 October 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections,” the election house boss said.
In both communications the Senate and House of Representatives emphasized that the letters notifying the commission about the two vacancies constituted the ‘sufficient authority’ of the commission to conduct by elections in Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties to fill the vacant seats in consonance with Article 37 of the Constitution of Liberia which states that ‘in the event of vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days inform the Elections Commission thereof.
The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held.
Following the receipt of the notification, the commission immediately began initial planning activities to conduct these by-elections. In so doing, the budget for the by-elections has been drafted and has been developed in which the commissioners.
The timeline has been developed in which the commission plans to conduct both by elections on 23 April 2024. The Writ of Elections, and the key dates will be published in the soonest possible time.
“As you may be aware, statistically, Nimba County is the second largest county in terms of voting population. As such, the commission is organizing the polls for 307,254 registered voters at 262 precincts, comprising 736 polling places. It requires 3,846 polling staff to man the polls in Nimba. As for District #1, Grand Gedeh County, there are 20,407 registered voters and 11 precincts comprising 46 places, which requires 243 polling staff,” she told the conference.
The NEC also informs the media that the commission is currently involved in a number of post 2023 electoral activities to include the process of documenting lessons learned from the 2023 General Elections and legal reforms.
It is expected that the documented lessons learned will inform the electoral reform agenda and the development of a new six-year strategic plan (July 2024-June 2030).
Personnel of the commission have also begun professional development activities, including ‘train the facilitators’ Building Resources in Democracy Governance and Election (BRIDGE) training.
The commission reiterates commitment to conducting all electoral activities in a credible manner, the pending Senatorial and Representative by-elections being no exception.