Focus Groups Capture Voters’ Perspectives on Libya's First Poll
On July 7, 2012, Libyans went to the polls and elected the General National Congress (GNC) in a major step that helped put their country on the path toward democracy. Despite dealing with a short timeframe, inexperience with elections and a challenging security environment, international observers applauded election authorities for conducting what was considered an orderly election and a notable achievement.
In order to examine the perspective of voters and their opinions of the election process, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) designed and implemented eight focus group discussions in November 2012 with Libyan citizens who voted in the GNC elections.
Focus group findings indicate that Libyan voters had generally positive feelings about Election Day and expressed a sense of pride about the election process and the ability of the Libyan people to turn a new page. Focus group participants recognized that there were gaps in information dissemination ahead of the elections, election security and media coverage. Nevertheless, Libyans seemed sympathetic to organizational lapses given the limited experience of election authorities and called for specific improvements in future elections. The focus groups also covered public sentiment on the political participation of youth, women and persons with disabilities.