LEON Raises Several Concerns Over Voting Process

By Jamesetta D. Williams doyenwilliams2001@gmail.com

The Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON) has released findings of its observation of the just-ended Presidential and Legislative Elections raising concern over several irregularities marred the electoral process.

The group said its observers reported that several procedural findings from the polling places observed including most NEC polling place officials always adhered to the procedures. According to the group, the mostly category ranges in between approximately 1% and 17%. The range for the combined figures for procedural adherence increases to 89% to 99% of the time.

LEON noted that the observer data indicates that NEC officials appeared to understand and implement the NEC’s procedures during Election Day at the polling places observed.

LEON says it remains concerned that important procedural steps were observed as “sometimes” or “never” being adhered to. For example, observers reported that queue controllers did not check for valid voter cards at approximately 7% of the time, identification officers did not tick voter names on the final registration roll at approximately 7% of the time, ballot issuers did not explain how to cast a ballot correctly approximately 9% of the time and use of the tactile ballot by visually impaired voters was not explained at an alarming rate of approximately 11% of the time.

LEON recommended that NEC continue to improve its training methods and emphasize the needs of visually impaired so they can more fully participate during elections.

LEON is a network of the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Federation of Liberian Youth (PLY) and National Union of Organizations of the Disabled.

LEON’s also reported that in approximately 10% of polling places observed, individuals were allowed to vote without a valid voter card and people were seen campaigning at the polling place during voting.

LEON acknowledges that even though procedural adherence was reported approximately 90% of the time, the lack of adherence to these areas remains an important area for procedural improvement and policy enforcement

LEON’s observers reported that the pace of voting with one voter taking between five and 10 opening of polls situational report, challenge reporting to duty and issues around queue control may have contribute to slow voters’ processing time.

According to the election monitoring group, given the high turnout rates, LEON recommends NEC to expedite the processing rate during future electoral events to improve efficiency.

LEON commended NEC for providing a polling place layout that enabled political party agents/poll watchers and domestic observers to view the electoral process very well approximately 1% of the time and approximately 17% of the time for a notable combined rate for agent observer access of approximately 98% of the time.

LEON also commends NEC for clarifying its policy of not allowing recording devices behind the voting booth to its presiding officers during the day so that observers were able to enter the polling places with their phones and thus perform their observation duties and report findings.

LEON’s observers reported that approximately two-thirds of polling places observed closed after 6:01 PM due primarily to the presence of voters in the queue at the NEC’s official closing time of 6:00 PM.

When comparing the time range for closure against the number of voters in line at 6:0 PM, LEON notes that the high turnout throughout the day continued to the end of the dayApproximately 25% of polling places closed after 7:00 PM and had more than 20 voters in the L at approximately 39% of the polling places.

LEON’s observers reported that approximately two-thirds of polling places observed closed after 6:01 PM due primarily to the presence of voters in the queue at the NEC’s official closing time of 6:00 PM.

When comparing the time range for closure against the number of voters in line at 6:0 PM, LEON notes that the high turnout throughout the day continued to the end of the dayApproximately 25% of polling places closed after 7:00 PM and had more than 20 voters in the line at 6:00 PM, LEON notes that the high turnout throughout the day continues to the end of

LEON called on NEC to continue carrying out its professional duties efficiently and effectively during the counting and results tabulation process. LEON also calls on all political parties and stakeholders to be patient and respect the electoral process to maintain a genuine, transparent, safe, and inclusive national election.

 

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