On Tuesday 31 July 2018, the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) conducted the long awaited senatorial by-elections in Bong and Montserrado Counties.
Voting and counting were conducted in a peaceful environment in an open and transparent manner but generally it was characterized by low voter turnout especially in Montserrado County compared to the turnout during the 2017 general elections. The NEC has recorded no incident of violence and no election related complaints were filed on the conduct of the by-elections or the tally process. The National Elections Commission accredited 1522 national/international election observers and six political parties and four independent candidate agents to observe the by-elections. Five candidates contested in Bong County while a total of seven candidates contested for the senatorial seat of Montserrado County. The two vacant seats in the Senate were created as a result of the elections of Senator George M. Weah now President of the Republic of Liberia and Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor now Vice President.
Following the request of the NEC and the Government of Liberia, the UNDP election project, in close collaboration with the donor community, met some of the budgetary gaps and provided vital assistance in the organisation of the Senatorial by-elections. The project supported the by-election through logistics and operations, including the preparation, delivery and retrieval of sensitive/non-sensitive electoral material. The project hired the services of the logistic company to assist in the movement of materials to the two counties. A total of 47 trucks and 141 pick-up vehicles were rented during the overall logistic operation for the Senatorial by-elections.
Funding support was provided by the project to deploy 77 civic educators and gender mobilisers to conduct public awareness campaign. To facilitate their work, civic educators and gender mobilisers were equipped with voter information and awareness materials printed with support of the project. In addition, support included the printing, delivery and publication of the final registration rolls at 2,292 polling places which allowed voters to check their names on the voter roll before the polls, and the payment of daily allowances to 5,607 polling staff working in polling places during the by-election day.
Support to the 2015-2018 Liberia Elections cycle project is a partnership between the NEC, United Nations Development Programme, European Union, Sweden, Ireland and Canada with a fund of USD 16 million to strengthen the conduct of elections in Liberia.
Support to the 2015-2018 Liberian Electoral Cycle project was established in order to strengthen the capacity of the National Election Commission (NEC) to successfully carry out electoral process within the 2015-2018 electoral cycle. Among other objectives, it introduced modern administrative systems and procedures, enhanced communications and public outreach, supported voter registration and election results management process. In addition, the project seeks to enhance the participation of women in the elections and in political activities, support civic and voter education and strengthen NEC’s capacity to engage with the stakeholders and resolve electoral disputes. The project is supported by the European Union (10.85 million USD), Sweden (2,757,039 USD), UNDP (1 million USD), Canada (749,625 USD) and Ireland (568,828 USD).