Data clean-up underway after biometric voter registration exercise in Liberia
Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) says it is working to clean up data it collected during the recently concluded biometric voter registration exercise in the country which unfolded in two phases.
The NEC announced after the second phase of the exercise ended on May 11 that the preliminary clean-up was being done and a provisional registration roll (PRR) will be published in June for corrections. The NEC said it registered 1,033,724 citizens in nine counties during the second phase, a little less than the 1.4 million it registered in the first phase.
In a press release signed by the NEC deputy Communication Director on May 21, the agency admitted that irregularities were already being detected as the de-duplication process unfolds.
“Several duplicates and underage registrations are being detected, and their voter information deactivated until further investigation. All ineligible registrants will be removed and in cases where there is/are alleged criminal motives, referred to the Ministry of Justice for immediate action,” the statement reads.
According to the NEC, the provisional registration roll will be up for consultation between June 12 and 17 in all the 2,080 registration centers which shall be expected to open their doors to the public simultaneously.
“To ensure that only eligible voters remain on the voters’ roll, it is important that the general public bring forward all concerns during the exhibition exercise. All registered and eligible Liberians will be allowed to access the first draft of the voter registration roll for verification, inclusion and rejection of information on the PRR,” the NEC said.
The corrections will be considered and the final list of eligible voters will be published ahead of the October 10 elections.
The election agency also extended words of appreciation to all stakeholders including security services, enrolment workers and the people of Liberia “for their tirelessness and love for country demonstrated throughout the Biometric Voter Registration exercise.”
In a briefing later on May 25, the NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah reiterated the importance of the exhibition exercise, saying it will “give registrants the opportunity to reaffirm their registration details and request corrections where necessary.”
In the meantime, some civil society organisations have heavily-criticized the voter registration process saying it was rocked by a litany of problems.
The Elections Coordinating Committee, a local election observer network, is one of the groups which complained that the exercise, especially the first phase, was hampered by system failures.
In another criticism as reported by The Africa Report, the chairman of the Unity Party Kula Fofana claimed the voter registration sensitization process was not properly done and this led to many people not showing up for the exercise especially in remote and difficult-to-access communities.
Fofana adds that their grievances have been forwarded in written form to the NEC, and one of their calls is for an extension of the voter registration in order to allow people who didn’t take part in the first or second phases, to be able to catch up.