LEON assesses the voting, closing of polls, and counting processes as generally improved when compared to the October 10th presidential and legislative elections. 

LEON commends National Elections Commission (NEC) officials for largely performing their duties in accordance with its procedures to deliver the presidential runoff election. LEON commends both political parties and the Liberian people for contributing to a peaceful and orderly presidential runoff election. 

LEON calls on political parties, voters, and all stakeholders to respect the electoral process and exercise patience for NEC to complete its constitutional mandate. The Liberia Elections Observation Network (LEON)1 provides the following post-election day statement on its initial findings during observation of voting, closing of polls, and counting during the second round of the 2023 presidential election.

LEON observers reported improved adherence to procedures stipulated by the National Elections Commission (NEC), incidents as reported and verified by its observers and analysts, and preliminary trends from ongoing social media monitoring. This statement follows LEON’s mid-day statement issued on November 14, 2023, with its preliminary findings from the opening of polls around the country. 

During the 2023 presidential runoff election, LEON continued implementing its sample-based observation (SBO) by deploying 73 long-term observers (LTOs), 53 field coordinators (FCs), and 18 mobile field observers (MFOs) to supervise and support observations from 904 short-term observers (STOs) at a statistically relevant sample of designated polling places in all 73 electoral districts. The STOs were deployed to the same 904 polling places observed during the October 10th elections. LEON reiterates that its observers and coordinators pledged to abide by a code of conduct to maintain their impartiality. Furthermore, LEON is conducting its SBO guided by the Liberian legal framework and domestic and international election observation standards and its observation approach is founded on the principles of neutrality, nonpartisanship, integrity, and independence to assess the overall quality and integrity of the 2023 electoral cycle. 

LEON’s preliminary assessment that the voting, closing of polls, and counting processes are generally improved when compared to the October 10th presidential and legislative elections are based on LEON’s observers at assigned polling places from the 15 counties across the country. Observations on the NEC procedures followed are based on data collected and verified as of 9:00 1 LEON is a network of the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP), Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and National Union of Organizations of the Disabled. 

LEON’S ELECTION OBSERVATION: SITUATIONAL REPORT FOR VOTING, CLOSING OF POLLS, AND COUNTING DURING THE 2023 PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF ELECTION 2 AM on November 15, 2023. LEON’s Election Day process data are followed by incidents reported by its observers and trends identified during social media monitoring of the electoral setting. Voting Procedures LEON’s observers reported the following procedural findings from the polling places observed on runoff Election Day. 

Most NEC officials “always” adhered to procedures in the eight categories listed below; however, in two categories – “Ballot Issuer Explained How to Vote Correctly” and “Voters Left Polling Place After Voting” – LEON observed compliance in approximately 78.4% of polling places for both points. The remaining six categories ranged between approximately 90.4% and 97.5% of polling places. 

The “mostly” category for the two lower categories was 12.7% and 16.1%, respectively, while the other six categories ranged from 1.8% to 5.2% of polling places. The range for the combined figures for procedural adherence increases to a more reassuring 94.5% to 99.3% of polling places. The observer data indicates that a high number of NEC officials appeared to “always” and “mostly” understand and implement the NEC’s procedures during runoff Election Day at the polling places observed. Regardless, LEON remains concerned that important procedural steps were observed as “sometimes” or “never” being adhered to. 

For example, observers reported that queue controllers did not check for valid voter cards in approximately 3.1% of polling places, identification officers did not tick voter names on the final registration roll in approximately 3.9% of polling places, and ballot issuers did not explain how to cast a ballot correctly in approximately 3.0% of polling places. 

Notably, NEC officials improved on explaining the use of the tactile ballot to visually impaired voters with observers noting that the voter aid tool was explained “always” in approximately 90.6% of polling places, compared to 77.9% during the October 10th elections. Queue controllers checking for valid voter card was observed as “always” in approximately 90.4% of polling places, compared to 85.3% in the previous elections. 

LEON notes that voters departed the polling places “always” and “mostly” at a higher rate of approximately 94.5% over the approximately 89.4% of polling places observed during the October 10th elections. LEON recommends NEC to improve its training methods and emphasize the needs of visually impaired and other people with disabilities so they can more fully participate during future elections.