The High Court on Friday, February 19, 2021, concurred with the verdict of the National Elections Commission (NEC) declaring Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe as the actual winner of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections in Bomi County. Reading the verdict of the Honorable Court, Chief Justice Francis Kporkpor asserted that the law provides that a party may request the dismissal of one or more claims against him/her at the time of the service of a responsive pleading, as such where a party fails to make such request at the time of service of a responsive pleading, said party can deem it necessary to have waived his or her rights.
Korkpor mentioned that the exception for dismissal for lack of jurisdiction was never waived at any time of the case not even before the Supreme Court, therefore, the said errors cannot operate to produce a different result other than the result of the Special Senatorial Elections declared by the Election House. "The Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change by and thru Bomi County Senatorial Candidate, J. Alex Tyler did not established fraud and irregularities in this case; and while there were errors committed during the election process which were brought to the attention of the NEC Officials was corrected, “the High Court Priest added.
Justice Korkpor indicated that where an administrative agency had made it findings and such findings are supported by law and backed by the records, the court will not disturb the conclusion drawn along with the ruling made by the agency. "Wherefore and in view of the forgoing, the final ruling of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC which declared Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr. as the winner of the December 8, 2020, Mid-term Election in Bomi County and is hereby affirmed. The clerk of the court is ordered to send a mandate to the NEC to resume Jurisdiction over the case," the Chief Justice mandated.
The ruling was signed by four Justices excluding Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh who rescued herself from the hearing and the judgment because she is a spouse of the Bomi County lawmaker. It can be recalled that the Board of Commissioners(BOC) of the National Elections Commission backed the ruling of its hearing officer that harmless errors, and mathematical errors made were corrected, muted. The Commission stated that those honest mistakes by the presiding officers could not be used as invalid votes.
This ruling from the NEC come as a result of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) complaint that NEC did not conduct a free, fair and transparent election because their representative and Rep. Snowe’s representative that were in the tally room on December 9 consented that two of the ballot boxes had multiple problems and should be therefore quarantined and was quarantined. However, the NEC went on to tally the results without the knowledge of the CDC. They contended that several tally sheets bearing Grand Gedeh County instead of Bomi were discovered in the county.
The tally sheets marked Grand Gedeh with voting precinct CH Dewey District #1 Polling place 1 center code: 033071 and voting precinct Malema Town District #2 Polling place 1 center code 0304 had on them results inserted for nine candidates while there were only five candidates in Bomi County. The ruling party mentioned a voting precinct Gbah Jeh-keh, District #1 polling place 4, center code: 03006 which used 163 ballot papers while the unused, spoiled and discarded ballot papers were 550 intotal of 713 instead of the 550 reportedly supplied to the center by the NEC.
The complainant further noted that there were similar irregularities in the reconciliation of the ballot paper reportedly supplied and the number of used, unused, spoiled and discarded ballot papers at a number of other polling places including voting precinct Barmo Palava hut District #1 polling center 1, code 03002; Nyoundee Town Hall, District #2 polling place 1, center code 03007; Geveh Fahncee District 2 polling place 1; Mary Camp District 1, Sackie Town, District 1, polling place 1, center code 03042.
Additionally, another irregularity that was alleged to have appeared on the face of the senate record of count show that voting precinct Red Hill Palaver Hut District #1, polling place 1, center code 03047, ballot cast were 409, zero unused, spoiled, discarded totaling 409 instead of the 550. They added that during the tallying of the results, the ballot boxes seal were broken without authorization from their representative which necessitated a recount leading to their candidate which obtaining four votes which was the actual votes which were said to have been obtained during the physical counting of the votes cast, petitioner’s votes were inflated to 41.
More to that on the tally sheet of the same polling place, 139 ballot papers were discovered in the ballot box instead of 409, difference of 270 ballot papers. During the hearing at NEC through the Independent Hearing Officer at the NEC, the officer said that the CDC’s lawyer could not specifically show that said irregularities, flaws and illegalities resulted to the defeat of their candidate. The hearing officer added that the CDC candidate also failed to show physical and documentary evidence to prove the allegations outlined in their 13-count complaint as such, it will be an unprecedented exercise of quasi-judicial activism to stop the certification process of the winner of the election by setting aside results are prayed for by the CDC.