Atlanta – based Carter Center observation mission says ineffective management of queues by workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) affected the orderly flow of polling in the presidential and representatives elections on Tuesday, 10 October.
Releasing its preliminary report on the outcome of the elections Thursday, 12 October at Boulevard Palace in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia, the Chairman of Carter Center’s Board of Trustees Jason Carter said observers reported that ineffective queue management mainly in large precincts, affected the orderly flow of the polling on elections day.
He says it created confusion among voters that were in long lines throughout the day. But the Center says the opening, polling, closing and counting processes on election day were generally conducted according to procedure in the approximately 145 polling places which its observers visited.
But given the challenges observed so far, the Center has recommends to the NEC that if there is a runoff, the Commission should offer precinct staff to enhance instructions on these issues before a second round.
The Carter Center says it deployed observers across all the 15 counties of Liberia on election day, from whom it received such report.
Carter Center official Mr. Jason Carter says in most of the locations, materials were delivered on time, and polls opened on time.
But he reports that observers across most counties reported difficulties in locating voters on the Final Registration Roll in some polling places.
However, the Center says Liberia’s election process is still ongoing and that it cannot issue an overall assessment until several important steps including any dispute resolution are concluded.
Mr. Carter says the Center’s statement is one of five that the Center has made about the process, and it only covers observations to date.
He says further reports addressing the tabulation process, the resolution of election disputes, and the post-election environment will follow as soon as possible.
The Carter Center Board Chair says the NEC has acknowledged difficulties with long queues management at polling precincts.
While acknowledging that NEC officials were proactive in visiting polling stations to resolve problems on Election Day, Carter Center however encourages the NEC to continue to react promptly as issues arise throughout the tabulation process.
“Transparency is crucial in an election, and the Center urges the NEC to continue its efforts to ensure that the tabulation process is transparent at all levels and that the public is provided the information it needs to fully understand the process,” the Center says.
The Center notes that prompt release of results is an effective means of building confidence among the electorate and preventing confusion and tension.
To this end, the Center urges the NEC to release provisional results, including at the polling place level, recommending that provisional results should be released as soon as they are ready.
It says clear indication of the counties and percentage of precincts should be included in the reporting. Concluding, the Center pleads with political parties to uphold their responsibility to ensure that their supporters maintain the peace throughout the electoral process and through the transition that will follow.
–Edited by Winston W. Parley