The Initiative for Democratic Alternatives- IDA-Liberia applauds all Liberians for the manner and form in which they conducted themselves during the Oct. 10 electoral exercise. The peaceful manner in which all Liberians expressed their rights to choose the next leader of the nation, and the overall atmosphere during the Oct. 10 election was unprecedented.
IDA-Liberia believes any outcome of these elections will set Liberia’s young democracy on the right trajectory. Underscoring that Liberia experienced its last smooth transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another since 1944, this process will be a significant achievement made by all Liberians, and we are all proud of it. The nonviolent and peaceful exercise on Oct.10 has shown the desire and wish of all Liberians to see a smooth and progressive transition of power.
IDA-Liberia field staff were honored to have served the Liberian people in observing the historic moment of the entire pre-election process and wish to applaud the Liberian people for their apparent eagerness and fortitude to peacefully express their will at the polls.
The process was characterized by decent and organized campaigns, better preparations on the part of political leaders and supporters, with few logistical challenges on the part of the National Elections Commission (NEC) on the day of the poll. Accordingly, some of those challenges were addressed by NEC and did not in any way change the outcome of the provisional results.
Our observers had reported that NEC did exceptionally well in managing the opening of polling stations, the entire polling process and the closing of polling stations. On the whole, the process was conducted by procedures set by NEC.
Nevertheless, IDA-Liberia team observed some difficulty by poll workers in locating voters on the Final Registration Roll at some stations or places, late opening of precincts and stations.
One of the most pervasive issue our staff recorded and reported was queue management at polling stations and precincts. Voters were not well informed about the process and had to stay more extended hours in the wrong lines; they were in the wrong lines at the end of the day. Which resulted in confusion and voters had to wait for poll workers to address those issues.
As the vote counting process is ongoing, IDA-Liberia will continue to provide an objective assessment by the observation made by our field staff, which does not constitute the overall evaluation of the entire process.
IDA-Liberia will keep its partners updated as development unfolds. IDA-Liberia again wishes to applaud the National Election Commission for admitting to some challenges during the exercise. E.g., long lines and queue management at polling stations, prolonged time in announcing provisional results, information dissemination to voters and management. This statement is an assessment of the process made by IDA-Liberia team and IDA would like to make the following recommendations to the National Election Commission in the event of a runoff.
NEC should continue to provide adequate information and instructions on how to help voters easily identify their polling station. We suggest that NEC should provide precise information to voters at all polling stations. Have one poll worker posted at the beginning of the line to provide clarity on issues voters may have. In that way, acts that pose any minor threat to the electoral process could be minimized.
NEC should continue to provide adequate and transparent information, and expedite the process of information sharing, to reduce anxiety amongst party leaders and supporters. The prompt release of results and or information on each phase in the process is an effective means of building confidence among the electorate and preventing confusion and any unwanted conduct. This will also avoid the possibility of arousing and spreading unnecessary and unfounded speculations of election results.