IFES Supports Liberia's 2014 Voter Registration Update
In the first quarter of 2011, the National Elections Commission (NEC) – with IFES support – conducted a nationwide voter registration drive to compile a voter register that was used for the 2011 referendum and all subsequent elections.
Since the compilation of the 2011 voter register, many young Liberians have turned 18 and become eligible to vote. Other voters have relocated. And, a good number of Liberians who, though qualified in 2011 and did not register, may want to register now so they can participate in future elections. As a result, the NEC is undertaking a nationwide voter roll update (VRU) exercise that will update the existing voter register for the October 2014 special Senate elections.
The VRU exercise began on January 29, 2014, with voter registration centers (VRCs) opening in a few areas in accordance with the NEC's schedule. This registration process is mobile with 200 teams of NEC staff. Each team spends three days in a VRU area to cover all 1,780 VRCs across the country by March 21. It is expected that by the end of the VRU exercise a total of about 400,000 registrations (new and transfers) would have been processed.
IFES support to the NEC and the electoral processes was helpful in ensuring that the VRU provided every qualified Liberian the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. In preparation for the VRU, IFES deployed a number of technical experts to advise and provide guidance to the NEC in planning and implementing the process.IFES provided additional support to the NEC’s procurement activities for the VRU. Along with providing technical assistance and advice to the NEC’s Procurement Department, IFES obtained a host of equipment and materials that were used at each of the VRCs across the country:
- 220 laptop computers installed with the current voter roll database to process new registrations and transfers
- Optical mark recognition (OMR) forms to collect and process registrations at the VRCs
- IT computer supplies, security software and Internet services at all 19 NEC Magistrate Offices
- Civic and voter education materials to include banners, posters, flyers, brochures, etc.
In addition, IFES supported training 32 staff members to process OMR forms; preparing permanent and temporary staff to conduct the VRU exercise; and workshop trainings for 160 community media personnel, civil society organizations (CSOs) and disabled persons organization (DPOs) on their respective roles in the VRU.
IFES assisted the NEC in hiring 219 civic and voter educators, and awarded grants to 28 CSOs and 15 DPOs to undertake civic and voter education activities across the country. Also, IFES is supporting a NEC radio and television program that seeks to inform and educate the public about the VRU process.
IFES believes the VRU exercise will provide many Liberians the opportunity to register to vote and ensure a more credible register for the upcoming special Senate elections.