Claim: same party featuring two different presidential candidates
Full Text: It is my one who saw that GDM was repeated on the ballot (“Lah my one noticed this or we plenty 🤷🙄🧐 Is it the same party featuring two presidential candidates? NEC needs to explain this.”)
Two days after the October 10th polls, while the National Election Commission was releasing preliminary results, Raphael Johnson, a digital creator with 5.2k followers, posted in a Facebook group called fries fm, pointing out the commission’s error in using one party name on the 2023 presidential ballot paper to represent two different candidates who are running for president on their respective political party tickets.
As of this writing, the post had 125 reactions and 122 comments. Some commenters wonder how the commission could make such a severe error on such a crucial document, potentially bringing the entire country to a halt in a matter of minutes.
Some commenters stated that no corporation will print an essential document without first sending it to the person or institution concerned to cross-check and validate any errors if any exist.
Additionally, In a press conference, VOLT presidential candidate Jeremiah Whapoe alleged that the National Elections Commission had changed the name of his party to the Grassroots Development Movement (GDM).
Whapoe is among 20 candidates who contested the October 10 election wanting to defeat incumbent, President George Weah, who is seeking reelection after six years in office.
Verification: Our research discovered that a party acronym appeared twice on the 2023 presidential candidates’ ballot paper for two different candidates.
Edward W. Appleton Jr. party (GDM) party’s acronym on the presidential ballot paper was placed before Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe’s name even though Whapoe ran on the ticket the Vision for Liberia Transformation (VOLT).
The National Elections Commission (NEC) certified VOLT in 2016. Whapoe contested the 2017 elections and accumulated 3,946 votes, amounting to 0.3%.
GDM, a party’Appleton Jr contested on was founded in 2011 with its first presidential candidate, Gladys Beyan. Appleton is the second candidate vying for the party’s ticket for Liberia’s presidency.
We reviewed NEC signed and stamped tally papers on the wall at various precincts for public consumption, as seen in the image below, utilizing precinct 03043, polling place two, electoral district two, Bomi County. Also, we looked at precinct code: 30312, polling place three, District #6 in Montserrado County.
The NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne-Lansanah promised to provide an explanation to the public when the commission verifies. If NEC responds, we will update this report
Conclusion: Yes, the NEC used the GDM acronym to represent Whapoe and Appleton on the October 10, 2023 ballot paper even though one of the two presidential candidates vied on the VOLT party ticket.
GDM was not only used in Montserrado but in other counties including: