News / Africa

Ballot Error no Impact on Referendum Results, Says Liberian Elections Chief

Elections Commission Chairman James Fromayan says the referendum went well despite ballot paper error

Liberia Elections Commission Chair James Fromayan
Liberia Elections Commission Chair James Fromayan

Multimedia

Audio
  • Butty interview with Elections Commission chair James Fromayan

James Butty

The chairman of Liberia’s national elections commission says Tuesday’s constitutional referendum was successful despite an error on the ballot papers.

In one of the amendments, voters were supposed to choose between 70 and 75 years as retirement ages for Supreme Court justices. But, the ballot papers listed the two choices as 75 and 75.

Voters also decided whether to reduce the number of years that a presidential candidate must have resided in Liberia from 10 to five years.

Elections commission chairman James Fromayan blames the situation on a printing error. He says the error will have no impact on the results of the referendum which he says are expected in two weeks.

“It was a printer’s error on the symbol which really did have any negative impact on the question as posed, and so, to me, it was not much of an issue except for those who are trying to blow things out of proportion. The question here is this; do you want the retirement age of Supreme Court judges to be increased from 70 to 75. So now, with this symbol in printing, they put 75 and 75 which had nothing to do with the question itself,” he said.

Liberia Referendum Ballot
Liberia Referendum Ballot

Liberia's main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change, called for a boycott of the vote saying the proposed changes would make it easier for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to retain power.

Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, wife of former President Charles Taylor, who is also chair of the Senate Electoral Committee, had called the referendum ballot confusing.  She says, days before the referendum, the ballot lacked clarity.

But, Fromayan said Howard Taylor and others were confused by their own design.

“The question says. ‘Do you agree for the residency clause to be reduced from 10 years to five years?’ So, if you say 'yes' that means you’re going for the five years; if you say 'no' that means you are retaining the 10 years and there’s no confusion,” Fromayan said.

He denies his commission waited until referendum day to tell the voters about the ballot error.

“That figure 75 appearing is something that we had a disclaimer to begin with.  Besides that, we also educated the poll workers so that they explain to the voters, because you will be increasing something from 75 to 75, that’s not an increment,” Fromayan said.

Some local media reported poor voter turnout in parts of the country saying many voters were confused about what they were voting for.  But, Fromayan said the referendum went well without too many complaints from voters.

“I went to Lofa [in northern Liberia].  I voted there and voters were not complaining except those who have seen this process go through successfully and they just want to look for something.  So, I think to us, it is a major success,” Fromayan said.

Fromayan said the Election Commission is simply carrying out what had been enacted by the Liberian legislature.

“The referendum came from the legislature.  It came from the lawmakers. We are not the ones that advanced this proposition.  We are only carrying it out as a result of the action of the legislature,” Fromayan said.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid