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Liberia Electoral Body Ready to Administer Election Saturday

FILE - Health workers wearing Ebola protective gear remove the body of a man they suspect died from the Ebola virus, at a USAID, American aid Ebola treatment center on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Nov. 28, 2014.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia has developed measures to contain the spread of Ebola during Saturday’s senatorial election, says Joel Kennedy, spokesman for the electoral body.

Liberia is one of the three West African countries battling the Ebola outbreak.

“[First], all individuals who go to the polls tomorrow will be required to wash their hands. We will have a hand washing facility in all of the polling centers. The second requirement will be that each person who will be standing in the same queue will be required to stand three feet away from each other,” said Kennedy.

Voters will also not share a common ink well for creating a thumb print to mark the ballot.

“Those who will be required to use a thumb print to mark the ballot papers will not use the regular ink pads that we have been using in past elections. They [will] be required to [press their thumb against a piece of] cardboard [that has been] dipped in ink and then mark the ballot papers,” he added.

Kennedy says the NEC will also provide sanitized pens for voters to use during the election.

The 1.9 million registered voters are expected to go to the polls tomorrow to elect senators representing Liberia’s 15 counties. Polling is scheduled to begin at eight o’clock in the morning and close at six o’clock in the evening, according to the NEC.

Kennedy said the electoral body is ready to administer a transparent and credible election.

“We have concluded the deployment of more than 24,000 electoral workers including electoral supervisors and other [officers] at the polling centers. We have 2.6 million ballot papers that we’ve brought into the country and all of the sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials have been deployed at the 2,701 polling centers across the country in preparation for the polling,” said Kennedy.

He said the NEC plans to hold regular news conferences next week to announce the results of the election.

“In every county, we have a tally center that will collate results from each county and then release the provisional results from there,” said Kennedy. County results will be forwarded to NEC headquarters which will review the figures, and issue the final tally.

The electoral body has accredited over 300 international poll observers from 10 organizations to monitor the election. They include officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and the European Union.

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