The 2020 National Referendum produced large numbers of invalid ballots in most of the 15 counties. Understanding the technical and political significance of invalid votes is particularly instructive for future electoral processes, yet the reasons for this phenomenon in Liberia remain largely unclear. In that regard, the Liberia National Elections Commission (NEC), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is undertaking an analysis of invalid votes from 13 counties from 3-5 June to help clarify the causes and provide insights into invalid vote patterns.
From 3-5 June, and prior to the teams leaving for the rest of the counties, Montserrado will serve as a pilot for the exercise. Team members will be divided into three groups: one will work in the NEC central warehouse, while the remaining teams will work at the Bensonville and Brewerville warehouses, carrying out the process simultaneously.
Such an appraisal has the potential to inform recommendations that may help to reduce invalid ballots in future elections. The appraisal is also expected to provide answers to the following questions:
· Why were there so many invalid ballots?
· What were the most common reasons for ballots to be declared invalid?
· In what areas were there more invalid ballots than others?
At the same time, the Commission will use this opportunity to assess the level of women’s participation in the 2020 Special Senatorial Election (SSE) and Referendum, and catalogue and enter all assets, in particular in southeastern counties, in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System. The ERP was implemented in 2019 to enhance transparency and accountability of NEC’s internal processes.