Voters Nipped Referendum in the Bud

by Staff Writer

The National Elections Commission (NEC) on April 1, 2021 releases the official results from the December 8, 2020 National Constitutional Referendum after three months.

Speaking in a press conference held at the Commission’s Headquaters on 9th Street, Sinkor, Madam Davidetta Browne Lasanah disclosed that all of the eight prepositions were rejected by citizens across the 15 political subdivision of the Country.

Madam Browne-Lasanah mentioned that none of the eight prepositions from the December 8, 2020 Referendum met the constitutional threshold of two-thirds as required in Article 91 of the constitution of Liberia.

The law provides that “the constitution maybe amended in the case whenever a proposal of either two-thirds of the membership of both houses of the Legislature or a petition submitted to the Legislature by not fewer than 10,000 citizens which received the concurance of two-thirds of the membership of both houses of the Legislature, is ratified by two-thirds of registered voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the National Elections Commission sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature.”

This provision provides that in order for a preposition to be ratified two-thirds of those voting in the referendum must vote in favor.

Commissioner Browne Lasanah further quoted section 4.4(a) of the new election law which states “fraction of two-third requires for approval of a question in a referendum is calculated by dividing the number of valid votes cast in approval of the questions by the total number of valid votes cast on the question.

Similarly, the Commission further reference the September 20, 2011 opinion of the Supreme Court on the challenge to the result of the 2011 referendum in which the court held that invalid votes cannot be included in the sum of the total votes as provided for in section 4.4 (a) of the new election law of Liberia.

“Based upon this, and considering the results from the December 8 referendum, none of the eight prepositions meet the Constitutional threshold of two-thirds,” madam Lasanah noted.

On December 8, 2020, Liberians throughout the country cast their votes in the eight prepositions to amend certain articles of the constitution of Liberia. The votes were tallied and the results from the 15 Counties were released by NEC on April 1, 2021 with all eight prepositions being defeated.

Prior to the conduct of the referendum on December 8 of last year, there were many public lynching of the process by citizens, especially key opposition figures over the timeline.

Mass public awareness on the impact and importance of voting for or against these eight prepositions were among several issues raised.

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