Missing data cast doubts over 2018 elections

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A spokesman for the Commission blamed it on faulty machines, but assured that they were working on fixing the problem ahead of a crucial deadline.

NEC has just recently concluded its one week voter exhibition exercise last week. The exercise, in line with a constitutional provision, involved the display of the Provisional Voters’ Register to allow Sierra Leoneans to scrutinize it.

The people, who registered were also supposed to confirm, correct, or include details that might have been omitted during the registration process.

Albert Massaquoi, Outreach and Communications Director of the NEC, told APA that the missing data situation was caused by faulty chips and reconfiguration to wrong centres. He explained that the data were still in their system and that they know how to recover them.

“We are aware of the missing data and we know how to recover them because we have them in our system,” he said in an interview.

This development follows the appearance in Parliament of representatives of the Commission after being summoned by the lawmakers.

This also followed rumours of plans by the House of Representatives to pass a law invoking a State Emergency with the goal of delaying the elections.

The rumour, which broke out on Tuesday, sparked widespread condemnation from the wary public. Local media reports indicate that the House Majority Leader Leonard Fofana had suggested to his colleagues that a state of emergency was required to allow the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma more time to resettle those displaced by the August 14 flooding and mudslide disaster.

Some analysts say the invocation of a state of emergency could lead to the postponement of the polls for six months and beyond.

But Mr. Massaquoi assured that as far as the electoral commission was concerned, next year’s polls would hold as planned.