EU EOM & The Carter Center Urge ECSL to Publish Disaggregated Results Data

At Polling Level…

By Abubakarr Harding

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Sierra Leone and the Carter Center have both called on the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) to publish the results of the June, 24, 2023 Presidential Election.

In a statement released by the EU EOM, dated 28th June, 2023, it stated that it has called on the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) to promptly publish disaggregated results data at the polling station level, a move which the election observer body said is aimed at ensuring transparency and public scrutiny of the ongoing electoral process.

The EU EOM continued that in a Preliminary Statement released on 26 June, it expressed concerns over the lack of transparency in the reception of sensitive materials and the early stages of tabulation in regional tally centers.

“The observers were unable to effectively verify the result forms for the presidential election, and important information regarding corrections and cancellations of polling station results was not shared with party agents and citizen observers,” the EU EOM highlighted adding how the absence of disaggregated results data at the polling station level has compromised the transparency of the results management process.

According to the Observation Mission it has also identified statistical inconsistencies in the Presidential results published by the ECSL on 26 and 27 June underscoring how those discrepancies include variations in the number of average valid votes per polling station, ranging from a decrease of 75% in Karene to an increase of 31% in Kono.

The EU EOM further disclosed that additionally, the results indicate an unusually low number of invalid ballots nationwide (0.4%) and exceptionally high turnout in certain districts, exceeding 95% in three districts and 90% in two others also maintaining how credible and impartial citizen observers have also noted those statistical inconsistencies.

Proffering a recommendation to address those concerns and ease tensions, the EU EOM has called on the ECSL to promptly publish disaggregated results data per polling station, along with copies of the results forms saying such would allow for public scrutiny of the results and ensure transparency and certainty in the electoral process.

The Observation Mission further  urged all stakeholders to peacefully address their grievances through dialogue and the prescribed legal mechanisms stressing how it will continue to observe the tabulation of results and post-election developments concluding by promising to present its final report, including recommendations for improving the electoral framework, in the coming months.

On the part of The Carter Center, in a release dated 28th June, 2023 it stated how in a follow-up to a preliminary statement issued on the 27th June, 2023 on the Sierra Leone elections, it once again strongly urges the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) to publish election results by polling station so that parties and observers can cross-verify data, in accordance with international best practice.

The entity stressed that such is particularly important considering the report from National Election Watch (NEW) indicating that the results from NEW’s verification exercise differ from the ECSL results, which show both significantly higher turnout and recorded votes for the SLPP presidential candidate.

According to The Carter Center, it is familiar with and has great confidence in NEW’s rigorous observation and verification methodology, and therefore is concerned that the ECSL’s results do not correspond with NEW’s data.

It expressed the conviction that publishing detailed Polling Station results is critical to ensuring that the final results announced by the ECSL genuinely reflect the will of the people as expressed on election day.

“This is especially true given that The Carter Center and other observers have expressed strong concerns regarding the lack of transparency during the tabulation process and have directly observed instances of serious irregularities at tabulation centers that call the integrity of the results into question,” it stated.

Maintaining that it continues to observe the tabulation process across the country, The Carter Center reiterates its recommendation that results from any ballot boxes that were opened in violation of procedure and international best practice should be set aside for additional scrutiny and should not be included in the final results until a formal, transparent, and inclusive review can establish whether they can be considered credible concluding that lacking that, the credibility of the results is in question.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here