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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid