ECSL Reveals Arrival of Ballot Papers on Saturday & Step by Step Processing of Votes Cast

By Millicent Senava Mannah

It has been announced by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) that ballot papers for the 24 June elections will arrive at the Freetown International Airport on Saturday, 17th June, 2023.

That revelation by ECSL was made during a demonstration of 2023 Election Management System Meeting at the Commission’s Warehouse at Wellington in Freetown on the 14th June, 2023.

According to the Commission, the ballot papers will be received at the Freetown International Airport together with election observers and a press corps on Saturday.

The said ballot papers will be transported to the Commission’s warehouse awaiting further transportation to voting centres across the country.

However, although the Commission is certain that the multitier election will go on as planned, the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) has called on the resignation of the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh together with four other commissioners.

In a statement to the public, the APC’s Presidential Candidate Samura Kamara called on his supporters to exercise civil disobedience if their request is not met within the set time.

It must be noted that the APC has been at loggerheads with the Commission since early this year.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL), Mohamed Konneh, also revealed that over 250 Muslim pilgrims will cast their ballots on Thursday the 15th June, 2023.

“253 are eligible to vote and more will be approved later in the afternoon,” Konneh said on Wednesday morning at the ECSL’s Warehouse at Wellington in Freetown.

The Commission earlier, in a press release indicated Muslim pilgrims will have the chance to vote before leaving for pilgrimage to Mecca over the weekend.

“The Election will be conducted for pilgrims who are Registered Voters and will be travelling to the Holy Land of Mecca on religious pilgrimage to exercise their franchise before the departure,”

The pilgrims will have the chance to vote at centres they did their registration.

According to the Commission, voting will take place at one centre in each district.

Pilgrims that registered in Freetown will cast their ballot at Ronsabs Preparatory School on Spur Road while Waterloo pilgrims will vote at REC Primary School.

The ECSL said that the early ballots will be counted together with the 24 June ballots “at the last polling stations designated”.

Also, a Step-by-Step process of how 2023 Election Result will be counted, collated and announced was done. ECSL stated that as Sierra Leone gears up for the highly anticipated 2023 elections, it is essential to understand the step-by-step process through which the results will be counted, collated, and ultimately announced.

With 3,374,258 registered voters, marking an increase of 195,595 from 2018, the democratic process is set to unfold with fervor.

The process of vote counting in Sierra Leone involves both physical and electronic methods. At polling stations, votes are manually counted by election officials and additionally at the district and regional tallying centers, overseen by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) who’s responsible for managing the country’s national elections

At polling stations across the nation, the physical counting of votes takes place, following a meticulous five-stage process. The ballot papers undergo screening, reunification, reconciliation, sorting, and finally, counting. Once the counting is complete, the Presiding Officer at each Polling Station publicly announces the results for agents and observers to record.

To ensure accuracy and efficiency, the outcomes are then recorded in a Reconciliation and Result Form (RRF). These provisional results from all polling stations are subsequently transmitted to the respective district tallying centers, where electronic tallying occurs. Each region, led by a Regional Commissioner, announces the provisional results via traditional media, providing a glimpse into the evolving electoral landscape.

As the anticipation reaches its peak, the provisional results are further consolidated at the National Tallying Center (NTC). It is within this central hub that the final tallying takes place, paving the way for the announcement of the official results.

The responsibility of declaring the final results rests with the Chief Electoral Commissioner, who, in a momentous occasion, will address the nation via traditional mass media platforms.

In the quest for victory in the presidential race, a candidate must secure a minimum of 55 percent of the total votes cast. Should this threshold not be achieved during the first round of voting, a run-off election will be held. This process, familiar from the 2018 election, will involve the two candidates with the highest number of votes competing head-to-head for the ultimate victory.


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