Home Governance ‘BassaLand’ Tops Invalid Votes …As Liberia Hits Global Record

‘BassaLand’ Tops Invalid Votes …As Liberia Hits Global Record

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By Our Staff Writer

MONROVIA: Looking back, the October 10th 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia, according to analyst, Dr. Teakon J. Williams, produced one of the highest invalid vote’s ratings in the world.

Dr. Williams, a Liberian Program Management Specialist and Researcher, said the 2023 invalid vote’s average eclipsed Africa’s average of invalid votes by more than 4%, raising more concerns about addressing this phenomenon.

“In Liberia, total percentage of invalid votes for the 2023 General Elections is 8% (114,610 or 1,833,875) reflecting a 1% increase from 2017 General elections at 7%,” said Dr. Williams in his analysis titled, ‘Invalid votes comparison 2017 vs 2023.

“At this percentage, Liberia stands as either the highest or one of the highest of invalid votes in elections globally,” he indicated.

His analysis did not say clearly whether the situation is as a result of the lack of civic education or protest from the voters.

According to him, a cross-section of people has attributed ‘invalid votes’ to either a lack of proper civic and voter education or deliberate act by voting officials who deliberately invalidate the votes by not stamping the ballot papers or placing in additional votes.

Yet, scholars have argued in light of these democratic declines, widespread blank and spoiled voting holds the potential to weaken electoral mandates, making governance difficult for elected leaders.
Dr. William who said invalid votes have become a hot topic in recent elections, also said Africa averages about 3.8% in invalid votes for presidential elections, while the Americas (non-Latin America) average about 6% (Cohen, 2016).

“The average for invalid votes in presidential elections for both Europe and Asia is 2.25%, compared to 5% for Latin America (Cohen, 2016),” he said, adding, despite these high percentages for Latin America and the Americas, Liberia’s invalid votes situation remains a mystery with an average of 7% in 2017 and 8% in 2023.

Amidst Dr. Williams analysis, Liberians remain firmly defiant about invalid votes and its aftermath in the election.

His analysis of data further showed no regular pattern for invalid votes requiring the need for continuous voter and civic education.
For instance, on October 10, 2023, Grand Bassa County had the highest number of invalid votes at about 11%, followed by Rivercess at 10%.
Interestingly, he said, Montserrado had the lowest percentage at about 4% followed by Bomi at about 6%.

In 2017, Grand Kru had the highest % of invalid votes at about 10% followed by Rivercess again at almost 9%.
Dr. Teakon J. Williams, has meanwhile recommended that more civic and voter education is required especially in counties with the highest percentage of invalid votes.

“Moreover, authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) need to put in stringent methods to reduce the number of candidates, thereby simplifying the ballot with less information,” said Williams who is a program management specialist and researcher.

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