Electoral reform is a key priority of the National Elections Commission (NEC). UNDP’s support to political processes such as the electoral and constitutional processes has been critical. Through the Elections Basket Fund (EU, Sweden, Canada, Ireland), UNDP supports the National Elections Commission in long-term capacity building efforts, helping to strengthen electoral processes by deploying technical specialists for operational and policy advisory support.
What have we accomplished so far
In 2017 , 2.18 million Liberians registered to vote in the Country's October 10, general and presidential elections. 49% were women and 51% men. Out of that number, a total of 1,641,922 ballots were cast (valid 1,553,348 and invalid 88,574) in the first round of elections. In the second round, 1,218,124 (valid 1,189,764 and invalid votes 28,360) were cast. The Number of women voters as percentage of electorates 51.5% women, 48.5% men. National and international election observers concluded that 2017 electoral process was credible.
As part of the overall process, 1,350 cameras and solar panel kits, printers and stationery were procured for voter registration. UNDP also supported 395 training sessions for 17,777 polling staff. Training for electoral magistrates increased their understanding and skills in dealing with electoral complaints. A total of 27,000 copies of polling and counting procedures manuals and duty sheets for the runoff presidential election were printed by the National Elections Commission (NEC) following technical inputs from the project. Training for 7,200 security officials increased commitment to electoral policing and understanding of best practices. The Elections Commission’s engagement with political parties, civil society and the legal community also increased through regular dialogue and consultation. Technical expertise was provided to the NEC’s data processing unit.Political parties publicly issued the Ganta Resolution in a UNDP supported initiative leading to the signing by all political parties in May 2017 of the declaration reaffirming their commitment to peaceful elections. It also assisted in the compillation of accurate voter register and supported the design of a secured data system for election results management.
Public outreach specificically targeted young people, women,vulnerable groups and first time voters. A national civic and voter education campaign supported by UNDP reached an estimated 1 million people (51% women and 49% men), utilizing traditional communication platforms such as palaver hut meetings and engaging community leaders to increase awareness on the right to vote.
The National Elections Commission has now adopted a gender mainstreaming policy clearly setting out gender equality as a central principle in its activities. For the first time in Liberia’s electoral history 30,000 tactile ballots were deployed at polling stations to ensure that visually impaired voters participate. Several trainings were conducted on the use of tactile ballots prior to election day.
Legal certainty was increased by the production of four legal analyses on boundary demarcation, voting rights of prisoners, candidate nomination and residency requirements.
In 2018, UNDP supported the NEC to improve its internal capacity and the strengthening of the electoral processes reinforcing its successful election performance. One key step was the compilation and publication of electoral recommendations from recognized observer institutions. This publication served as a basis for NEC to develop an Electoral Legal Reform Paper and sent to its Board for approval. An electoral reform agenda Road- map was developed on the implementation of electoral processes. As part of the reform process, NEC has taken steps to reduce voters’ registration errors and potential for fraud through digitization. NEC is collaborating with the National Identification Registry to use its registry for NEC’s future database. A report identifying gaps in Electoral laws as well as potential areas for capacity development and alignment was commissioned.
The NEC installed and launched the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP), an administrative platform that informs finance, human resources, procurement and fixed assets management departments of NEC. When in full use, the ERP will register financial data in real-time, reflecting the business flow and securing fast and accurate financial reporting. Connectivity across modules enables tracing of transactions to their origin, so that it can be verified and analyzed immediately or on demand to support external or internal audits. The system includes capabilities such as: financial management, human resource management, payroll, supply chain management, project management/accounting and reporting. UNDP supported the NEC by providing technical assessment and inventory of the voter registration equipment retrieved from field offices.