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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More