ECC RUNOFF ELECTION DAY-MID-DAY STATEMENT

                                                                                                                              

RESPECT THE WILL OF THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE

Introduction

This mid-day update is based on reports that the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) has received from 475 out of the 498 Rapid Response Observers deployed to polling places proportionally nationwide as of 1:00PM on December 26, 2017.

The ECC has deployed 1100 trained and accredited observers including 89 mobile observers and 982 polling place observers covering all 73 electoral districts of Liberia. Of the 982 observers, 832 are systematically deployed as Rapid Response Observers, 498 of which are deployed based on a proportional distribution by district. This means that the proportion of polling stations observed by Rapid Response Observers in each district and county closely matches the overall percentage of polling stations in each district and county. Appendix A provides a detailed breakdown of the distribution of observed polling stations by county.

This report focuses on the set-up and opening of polling places. Percentages reported reflect percentages of polling places observed and are not statistically representative of the country as a whole, but do provide credible data on emerging national trends. At this time, the ECC has received 96% of reports from its 498 Rapid Response Observers. The majority of the missing reports come from areas experiencing poor network coverage in certain areas, including Gbarpolu 02, Nimba 9, Grand Gedeh 02 and Grand Cape Mount 1. Therefore, these following findings do not reflect what has occurred in these areas. We will expect these reports to come in by the end of the day.

  Key Findings

The process is conducted peacefully and orderly with no reports of any major incident. At the same time, the ECC observed a slow turnout so far. The ECC observers reports show that the queues are better managed in comparison to the poor management of queues observed in the first round. Queue controllers are more visible and providing assistance to the voters.

Arrival at Polling Places

  • In 98% of polling places where ECC Observers are located, National Election Commission (NEC) staff respected the ECC Observer’s status as an accredited observers and permitted them to access the polling place.

Polling Place Set-Up

  • ECC observers reported that 88% of polling places had all five NEC staff present during set-up. This is an improvement from the October 10 election, when ECC observers reported that 80% of observed polling places had all five NEC staff present.
  • In 99% of polling places where ECC observers are located, observers reported seeing the FRR posted at the polling place in fulfillment with the Supreme Court’s mandate.
  • Observers reported that all sensitive materials (including the ballots, ballot stamp, indelible ink, the Final Registration Roll (FRR), and the Record of the Count Forms) were available at 99% of polling places at 8:00am.
  • At all observed polling places, the NEC presiding officer showed that the ballot box was empty and in 99% of polling places the presiding officer sealed the ballot box with four seals.
  • In 94% of polling places where ECC observers are located, observer saw security personnel in the area. This compares to 95% during the October 10 elections.

Opening

  • ECC observers reported that voting generally commenced on time in most of the observed polling places. By 8:30am, 96% of observed polling places had opened. Another 3% had opened by 10:00am. For the October 10 elections, ECC observers reported that 80% of observed polling places had opened by 8:30 am and another 19% had opened by 10:00am. This is considered as an improvement compared to the first round.

Critical Incidents

Generally, ECC observer reports indicate that the opening process has been peaceful, orderly, and proceeding smoothly across the country with no major incidents. The ECC National Information Center is collecting critical incident reports from all deployed observers. The ECC continues to collect and process these reports.

Recommendations

To political parties:

  • The ECC encourage political party agents should continue to monitor the process through closing and counting.
  • The ECC calls the political parties to refrain from making any premature announcement of results and channel grievances through the appropriate legal and regulative frameworks.

To the National Election Commission:

  • The ECC calls the NEC to investigate on reports of pre marked ballot papers and provide timely information on the outcome of these investigations.

To the media:

  • The ECC reminds the media to continue to be responsible in their reporting on challenges facing the process.

The ECC observers are still in their polling places and they are reporting on real time using coded text messages to the ECC information center. The ECC observers are instructed to stay in their polling places until the end of the counting. The mobile teams continue observing the general atmosphere outside the polling places.

About the ECC and Observation of the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections

The ECC’s observation effort takes advantage of advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to receive near real-time reports from its observers. The ECC has established a National Information Centre (NIC) in Monrovia to which ECC observers submit reports using coded text messages from their mobile phones. Reports are directly transmitted into a sophisticated database and processed.

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is a civil society platform, comprising 30 organizations that observes all aspects of the electoral process in Liberia, including the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections. The ECC has an eight member steering committee with representatives from Actions for Genuine Democratic Alternatives (AGENDA); Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections – Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRC) and the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). CDG serves as the chair of ECC. The work of ECC is supported by the NDI and OSIWA.

Appendix A: Distribution of observed polling places by county.

Distribution of Polling Places Deployment of ECC Rapid Observers
County Polling Places % of Polling Places Polling Places % of Polling Places
Bomi 158 2.93% 14 2.81%
Bong 502 9.31% 46 9.24%
Gbarpolu 133 2.47% 13 2.61%
Grand Bassa 388 7.20% 35 7.03%
Grand Cape Mount 171 3.17% 16 3.21%
Grand Gedeh 167 3.10% 15 3.01%
Grand Kru 99 1.84% 9 1.81%
Lofa 417 7.74% 39 7.83%
Margibi 382 7.09% 35 7.03%
Maryland 156 2.89% 15 3.01%
Montserrado 1790 33.21% 166 33.33%
Nimba 699 12.97% 65 13.05%
River Gee 95 1.76% 9 1.81%
Rivercess 97 1.80% 9 1.81%
Sinoe 136 2.52% 12 2.41%
TOTAL 5390 100%  498  100%

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