Special Awards In Pictures

These elections more or less mark a notable momentous for Liberia, as it presents an opportunity for the first peaceful transfer of power from one president to another since 1944, and the first time ever that one democratically elected president succeeds another.

Giving the country’s experience of past conflicts, developmental challenges, such as poor infrastructure and low literacy, and difficult macroeconomic trends, it is equally important for every Liberians to take charge of the process.

There was high level of enthusiastic participation of voters across the country, many of whom waited patiently in long queues to cast their ballots. At every polling place, voters were determined to cast their votes to help shape Liberia’s future which was best summed up by a voter waiting patiently in line.
This shows that the democracy is getting stronger and deeper each year in Liberia. The enthusiasm and determination shown in this election process was very encouraging.
However, there were some level of irregularities been identified during the October 10 polls. Amongst them are: lack of power supply at some polling places, over-crowdedness of voters at precinct centers with multiple polling places, failure on the part of queue controllers to direct voters which queues to be on, and some polling officials did not apply procedures consistently are amongst the many aspects of the process which presented challenges on elections’ day.
NEC’s staff experienced challenges in managing queues and directing voters to proper polling places, particularly in areas with higher numbers of registered voters and in voting precincts located in facilities not adequate to accommodate these numbers, this resulted in long waits and frustration among voters, and caused voting and counting to extend long past the official closing time. There were still voters in the queues after 6:00PM. In some places these voters were allowed to cast their ballots where others were equally denied rights to cast their ballots.
Some polling places did not have adequate lights, which cause additional delays in the counting process and increased the potential for human error. Together, these difficulties led to slow-moving lines in many polling places. In a number of instances, polling places were located in buildings that presented with difficult access for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

A Baysah Vesselee, junior student Star College
“For me I noticed lots of irregularities during the voting process which need to be work on by the board of commissioners at the National Elections Commission. These situations led to the delay in the starting time of the voting process, this was so because maybe polling staffs were not adequately knowledgeable of the role each of them have to play at a giving precincts or polling place. Therefore, I would strongly recommend to the NEC to Improve and clarify procedures for polling officials to manage voters with registration cards that are not found on the roll, and ensure voter identification officers are provided clear, written instructions on those procedures in the instance of runoff election. The commission should also bolster civic and voter education efforts, especially in rural areas, on how to mark the ballot papers and how to find polling places within voting precincts”.

Clarence Carter Student At Liberia Teacher Training College
“For me, what I observed during the voting process is that some of the precincts with multiple polling places were overcrowded, and some voters were confused as to the queue to join; some polling places with many registered voters had only a single voting booth; some voters with voter cards were not on the voter roll; and some polling officials did not apply procedures consistently. Despite technical and administrative lapses made this process more difficult for voters, Liberians demonstrated their commitment to exercising their right to vote by turning out in large numbers, enduring the long queues, and peacefully engaging in the polls. As such, it is more necessary for the national elections commission to conduct more refresher courses to voting precinct presiding officers and voting precinct queue controllers to better direct voters to the correct queues associated with their polling places; clearly mark polling places within the precincts. Another is that the NEC should expedite the procurement, printing, and delivery of ballots to ensure they arrive in polling places in advance of Election Day, a factor which also poses challenged to the process”.

Desire Otos UMU
“As for me, I do believe that this election was not properly planned by the NEC which is one factor responsible for the irregularities during the voting process. Many of the polling staffs were not knowledgeable on how to use those electoral materials provided by the NEC. Some of the polling staffs have difficulties in folding the ballot papers or let along bowing the identification card which is sad. But, inspect again this is Liberia and we are not surprise that those things will happen. The NEC took people who have little or no idea on the job on the basis of personal relationship. Granted if you took your relatives to do the job, but be able to provide adequate training and testing to determine who is fit for the task, but such I’m sure was not done. These are critical matters and people should not be taking on the basis of sympathy, but rather competency, and we think NEC will take that in to serious consideration during the next elections to avoid repeating such mistakes”.

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