Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breaking News : Error on Liberia Referendum Ballot !!!!!!!!!

According to reports from Monsterrado, Nimba, Grand Kru and Bong County, there is a problem with proposition 2 on the ongoing Liberia 23rd referendum ballot paper which seeks to change the tenure of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 75 years. Instead of giving an option of 70years on one hand and 75 years on the other hand, ballot paper voters are asked to vote "yes" for 75years and "No" to 75years.

In an interview with Bobby Livingstone, the Director of Public Information at the National Elections Commission (NEC), he confirmed this error and stated that NEC was aware of the problem. But added that, the problem will in no way affect the results for that particular proposition since voters will still be answering "yes" or "no" to the question in the middle which states that "do you want the retirement age of Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts of record to be increased from 70 to 75 years."
"Therefore if one votes 'Yes' it will count as accepting the proposition to increase the retirement age and voting 'No' will count as not accepting the proposition"
He added that it was a printing error and the commission has since printed addendum and distributed to some polling stations addressing this error.

The terms of appointment for judges in the Liberian judicial system are defined by Article 72(b) of the 1986 constitution :
"The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts of record shall be retired at the age of seventy"
A proposed amendment when passed would increase the mandatory retirement age for all justices to seventy-five from the current seventy.

Speaking to African Elections Project in Monvrovia, Dan T. Saryee Director of the Liberia Democratic Institute (LDI) said they have received reports from Grand Kru countywhere a lot of voters are disgruntled with the error and using it as a basis not to vote at all.In their opinion it was done intentionally to elicit an automatic "yes" votes on all the 4 propositions
He suggested that NEC should have come out with an official statement to explain the error. He is worried that "some politicians will use this error to discredit the results and the whole referendum process."


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