The Liberia Elections Observation Network or LEON announces the opening of its operations and data center at the Headquarters of the Federation of Liberian Youth, FLY in Monrovia.
LEON says it will analyze data as the arrive from the field thru SMS submitted by 140 Long Terms Observers (LTOs) and 1000 Short Terms Observers (STOs). These SMS go directly in the LEON database through specially developed software. It has a team of data analysts working in shifts, who will be analyzing information on opening, voting and counting throughout Election Day.
The Liberia Elections Observation Network is a platform of four Liberian Civil Society Organizations: The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), Federation of Liberia Youth (FLY) and National Union of Organizations for the Disabled (NUOD) with the goal to meaningfully contribute to the democratization process in Liberia by providing an avenue for civil society to participate in monitoring and observing the 2017 elections.
LEON has 133 observers stationed around the country since June, observing all aspects of the electoral process. It has recruited and trained a further 1000 short term observers to be stationed in polling places in all electoral districts on election day, reporting on the voting and counting processes. The 133 Long Term Observers will continue to monitor the post election environment and to report on the tallying process.
LEON observers will be stationed in approximately half of all polling precincts and 20 percent polling places on Election Day. The leadership of LEON will be at the secretariat and will issue statements on the process during and after Election Day. LEON LTOs will monitor the tallying of results at all 19 tallying centers and continue to monitor the post-election environment.
Te organization encourages all political parties to be peaceful during and after the elections and is appealing to the media to allow the NEC to perform its constitutional mandate especially, as the polls close on elections day October 10, 2017. LEON says the National Elections Commission is the only entity with the authority to announce elections results and declare winners, saying “While we welcome the media announcing results, let us remember that these will be provisional and may not be fully representative since results from remote areas will come in later.”
LEON observers assessed that security forces are playing a positive role in the larger rallies where they are present with only two negative reports and most rallies were peaceful.
“Apart from the well-publicized violent incidents in Sanniquellie and Monrovia, the majority of these were smaller events where there were no police present. There were a further 15 reports of election related violence with destruction of political party campaign materials or longstanding tensions causing the incidents. There were also three reports of candidates being harassed. Serious incidents were mostly referred to the police who were reported to be acting in 73 percent of cases referred to them”, the organization notes.
By Bridgett Milton