“BVR Exhibition Process Peaceful”-ECC -Makes several recommendations

MONROVIA : The Elections Coordinating Committee(ECC) has said the recent BVR exhibition process conducted by the National Elections Commission(NEC) across the country was peaceful despite the low number of security and party agents present at the Exhibition Centers.

According to a press release issued by ECC yesterday, its 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”.

The release said 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.

Giving the breakdown of its observation, ECC said 362 of the 425 observed exhibition centers opened at 8 am, 407 of 424 exhibition centers had Exhibition Officer present of which 104 were women. It further said that 405 of 424 centers had the Exhibition Clerk present (173 of which were women) and 17 of 424 exhibition centers did not have an exhibition officer present, while 19 centers did not have an exhibition clerk, adding that of the 405 centers with staff present, ECC noted a higher number of male officers and clerks deployed than their female counterparts.

The release further said 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 and that 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(Ex008) and the Daily Accounting Sheet(Form Ex-006)

Touching on the exhibition process, ECC said the exhibition procedures were generally followed after the centers were opened. It said 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”, the release said.

“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”, the release said.

ECC further said security and party agents were generally not present at the Exhibition Centers, adding that 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 said.

At the end of the report, ECC made several recommendations to NEC, the Security agencies, political parties, civil societies organizations and development partners.

For NEC, it said the electoral body should highlight by county the number of objections filed during the exhibition and whether they were resolved or not, 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) and 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.   

On security, it recommended that agencies should ensure the adequate presence of uniformed security personnel at subsequent electoral events, especially during the campaign and on election day while it said 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 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 concluded its recommendation.

To carry on the exercise, ECC said it  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.

The release said 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. It said County Coordinators on th`e other hand, were deployed at the NEC magisterial offices to observe the Claims and objection processes associated with the exhibition.

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).

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