Here’s a brief situation report of events on the ground in Liberia, where Ushahidi Liberia’s team has been operational for the past year and-a-half. This report covers the eve of and, now, day of, the presidential run-off election:
The 2nd round of voting, scheduled for November 8th, has two candidates on the ballot: Congress for Democratic Change (CDC)’s Winston Tubman, and the Unity Party’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
- Election morning saw reduced numbers at the polls. Many more women than men were voting. In CDC strongholds across the capital, voter turnout was little more than a trickle. When an international election monitor asked a lone male voter why the women largely outnumbered the men in the 2nd round, he said simply, “They look out for their own”, suggesting women were voting for Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf.
- While the turnout appeared to be significantly less than the 1st round, this election did not include the Senate and House of Representatives, and was between two presidential aspirants rather than October’s 16. It is suspected among observers that the short lines may have been in part because of the streamlined process and not only because voters were concerned about violence.
- Isolated reports of instability came in at the end of the day, including attempted ballot box stealing and more rounds of tear gas fired at citizens trying to prevent the police from removing ballot boxes at close of polls. All in all, a calmer day than expected after the events of Nov 7th.
- Unofficial preliminary results will be released by the Liberia Media Center this evening and throughout the week. The National Elections Commission says official preliminaries will be in on November 9th with most votes counted by the 11th. All of these results will be posted on the Ushahidi election instance under “other layers” (just below “categories”) on the homepage. The national Elections Coordinating Committee, with more than 1,700 field monitors, will also have detailed reports from each polling station on the Ushahidi instance as information rolls in.
More to come this week about the Ushahidi elections instance and its role during and after the run-off.