In October 2023, Liberia will conduct its fourth consecutive presidential and legislative elections since the end of the civil war in 2003. These elections represent a critical test for the country’s emerging democracy. This is so for the following reasons:
- The cost of the election will be largely covered by the Government of Liberia (GoL). The exact cost is unclear. The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) claims the budget is $53 million while the National Elections Commission (NEC) says it is $51.4 million.
- The administration of the elections will to a large extent be managed by the National Elections Commission (NEC) with technical support from international development partners.
- Security for the conduct of the elections will be provided entirely by the country’s security agencies. However, the government may not be in the position to provide the financial resources needed for the deployment of officers across the country.
- For the first time, the elections will be conducted using a registration roll that is the product of a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system.
This technical report outlines the activities and outcomes of the observation of the voter registration process by the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the project, Liberia Independent Domestic Election Observation (LIDEO) Activity. The ECC notes the importance of this component of the electoral cycle against the premise that the conduct of a credible election is founded on a credible voter roll. While the report is focused on voter registration, it deals with other issues such as boundary delimitation, women’s political participation, and civic education.
The delay in commencing the voter registration exercise constrained the NEC to readjust the entire electoral timeline which provided for a shorter timeframe for the completion of other activities including a reduction in the number of days for the campaign period from three to two months. The ECC and LEON expressed concerns and uncertainty surrounding the delay in starting the voter registration process in time.1 The opposition Unity Party (UP) also expressed similar concerns.2
Despite these concerns and the anxiety that characterized the immediate period leading up to the commencement of the voter registration and some challenges faced by NEC, the ECC observed the following:
- Despite minor incidences of violence, the voter registration process on the whole was conducted in a peaceful manner.
- As compared to 2017, the quality of the voter ID Card is improved.
- Dividing the voter registration process into phases afforded NEC the opportunity to learn from phase one to improve the exercise for phase two.
- The ECC and LEON jointly issued a statement expressing concern and anxiety in the delay of commencing the voter registration. See: hAps://www.liberianobserver.com/liberia-delay-uncertainty-elec=ons-process-recipe-crisis
Download a copy of the ECC’s Technical report on BVR here: ECC Technical BVR Report_2023