This ECC update covers findings based on 425 reports received over six (6) days of deployment from June 12-17, 2023. ECC deployed 73 district observers to observe the NEC exhibition process within their electoral districts and 19 county coordinators to observe the objections and appeal processes at the NEC Magistrates’ offices.
Overall, the exhibition process was peacefully conducted across the country, with no incidence of violence reported by ECC observers. Generally, the exhibition exercise observed by the ECC shows that centers opened on time with all the necessary materials and forms available to conduct the process. ECC also observed a low number of security and party agents present at the Exhibition Centers.
These findings of the ECC covered the entire process of exhibition from set-up, opening to the closing of centers. The ECC observed the following:
Opening and Setup
ECC observers reported that observed exhibition centers were opened on time and had the required number of NEC officials present, including the necessary forms for the process. Despite this, a few of the centers were seen to be missing either an Exhibition Officer or an Exhibition Clerk. However, ECC notes that more women were deployed as Exhibition clerks than officers.
- 362 of the 425 observed exhibition centers opened on schedule at 8:00 a.m.
- 407 of 424 exhibition centers had an Exhibition Officer present (104 of which were women).
- 405 of 424 centers had the Exhibition Clerk present (173 of which were women).
- 17 of 424 exhibition centers did not have an Exhibition Officer present, while 19 centers did not have an Exhibition Clerk. Of the 405 centers with staff present, ECC noted a higher number of male officers and clerks deployed than their female counterparts.
- 54 of 424 exhibition centers were located upstairs, making accessibility difficult for persons with disabilities.
- 423 of 424 exhibition centers observed had the Provisional Registration Roll (PRR) present, either posted on the wall, available in booklet form, or both.
- 422 of 424 centers had the necessary forms present for the exhibition process, including the Application for Correction of Registrant’s Record/Inclusion Form (Ex002), the Objection to Inclusion Form (Ex-008) and the Daily Accounting Sheet (Form Ex006).
According to the ECC observers, the exhibition procedures were generally followed after the centers were opened. All registered voters who appeared with their voter registration cards were permitted to inspect or check the provisional registration roll for any mistakes, missing information, or probable ineligible voters on the list:
- At 208 of 422 exhibition centers, registrants who required correction to their information were allowed to file for an Application for Correction of Registrants Record using form Ex-002.
- At 74 of 422 exhibition centers, registrants with issues of missing or incorrect photo were allowed to file for correction and in these instances, the applicants were informed to visit the magistrate’s office to get their photo taken.
- At 99 of 422 exhibition centers, registrants who had their information excluded from the list were allowed to file for inclusion to the PRR.
Based on information recorded from the daily accounting sheet:
- 745 registrants filed a claim for correction to their information on the provisional registration roll;
- 124 claims for missing or incorrect photos were filed;
- 123 claims for inclusion were also filed;
ECC observers also reported that 36 challenges/objections were filed because the persons were believed to be ineligible. According to the NEC exhibition procedures, a challenge/objection to inclusion to the PRR is filed only when the person is believed not to be a Liberian, not 18 years old, is a felon (criminal), is considered incompetent (insane), or is deceased. However, the ECC also tracked challenges/objections filed based on the issue of residency. According to an ECC observer report, 3 of these challenges/objections were raised and recorded by the NEC Officer because the persons were believed not to be a resident of the district or the community at the Rev. Philip S. Blamo Institute center with code 30132, Montserrado electoral district 15.
Security and Party Agents
Security and party agents were generally not present at the Exhibition Centers. Security staff were only present at 15% of the 424 exhibition centers the ECC monitored, and no party agents were present at 91% of the total locations. It was noticed that party agents from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), and the Unity Party (UP) were stationed at the few exhibition centers with agents.
ECC observers were required to immediately report any serious issues that would disrupt the smooth and peaceful conduct of the exhibition process. Overall, the exhibition was peacefully conducted across the country, with no incidence of violence or disruption reported. ECC received 7 reports of critical incidents from electoral district observers related to the following:
- Late opening of centers: ECC received two reports of late opening of centers. The Bassa Community School in Maryland (electoral district 02) with center Code 27027 and the Joel Elementary Junior High in Montserrado (electoral district 13) with Center code 30146 opened late. At the Bassa Community School, which opened at 12 noon, the observer reported that registrants who visited the center waited in vain and left with not a single NEC staff present to address issues they had with their details.
- Early closure of centers: According to the observers, the St. Peter Junior High, with center code 18048 in Grand Kru (electoral district 02), and the Bishop Grimley School, with center code 30009 located in Montserrado (electoral district 11) were reported closed before 5:00 pm. According to the observers, the NEC’s staff’s early closure of the centers was due to the low turnout of registrants and the lack of visits to the center to check their details.
- Exhibition Centers that never opened: ECC received three reports of never opened exhibition centers. These include the Geebio Palava Hut with center code 27026 in Maryland (electoral district 02), the Weayan Public School with center code 18047 in Grand Kru (electoral district 02), and the Gibson Elementary school with center code 36624 in Montserrado (electoral district 11). The NEC workers reportedly left the town where the Weayan center was situated the day before the process ended and did not come back, according to the observer’s account. The observer at the Geebio Palava Hut also mentioned that community residents informed that not a single NEC employee returned to the facility since the first day of the exhibition after posting the list of registrants on the wall.
Recommendations: The ECC proposes the following recommendations for consideration:
To the NEC:
- The NEC should highlight by county the number of objections filed during the exhibition and whether they were resolved or not.
- The NEC should inform the public of the number of inclusions made to the current PRR following the exhibition process.
- In order to maintain public confidence and trust in the electoral process, the NEC should provide observer groups an electronic copy of the Provisional Registration Roll (PRR) for independent analysis prior to publishing the Final Registration Roll (FRR).
- The NEC should advertise the duplication lists on websites, newspapers, and other media as well as report these findings to the Ministry of Justice for further investigation.
- Security entities should ensure the adequate presence of uniformed security personnel at subsequent electoral events, especially during the campaign and on election day.
- Political parties should commit to monitoring future exhibition exercises and electoral processes. Additionally, they should start preparing to send out observers to monitor the 2023 election day polling activities.
CSOs and Development Partners
u CSOs and partners should restructure their CVE engagements to ensure the adequate participation of voters on election day. Robust CVE messaging should be provided for people who might not be permitted to vote as a result of fraudulent registrations (those suspected of being underage and removed from the list).
ECC Observation & Deployment Methodology
The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) trained and deployed 92 long-term observers (19 County Coordinators and
73 Electoral districts observers) from the fifteen (15) counties to observe the NEC Exhibition of the Provisional Registration Roll from June 12-17, 2023 and the Claims and Objections process held at the NEC’ Magisterial offices. Both electoral district observers and county coordinators were deployed as stationary observers to observe the Exhibition and claims and objection processes across the 15 counties and 73 electoral districts.
All electoral district observers were deployed at designated Exhibition centers on each day for the entire period of the exhibition (June 12-17, 2023), each day, at a different exhibition center. County Coordinators on the other hand, were deployed at the NEC magisterial offices to observe the Claims and objection processes associated with the exhibition. For each observation day, ECC coordinators and observers completed a comprehensive observer checklist and sent in reports via coded text messages to the ECC’s Data Center. Observers were also instructed to submit critical incidents reports whenever they observe issues that threatened the peaceful conduct of the process.
The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) is Liberia’s largest domestic election observation network with diverse competencies, experiences, and expertise in democracy, elections, and governance established since 2010. ECC’s members include the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG); Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP); Center for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (CECPAP); Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD); Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE-PADD); West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), and the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). The ECC election observation effort is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “The contents of this update are the responsibility of the ECC and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.”
Please download the full report here: Exhibition Observation Update 2023_Final