Awareness Times Research on Contemporary Voter Registration:
Voter registration for the February 26th 1996 elections, commenced in December 1995. However, because of national insecurity then, it was extended several times until as late as February 23rd 1996, just 3 days before the elections when additional 90,000 names made it into final voters register between 19th to 23rd February 1996. It was a topsy turvy exercise due to civil war.
In sharp contrast and with improved national security, the process was to stabilise better by 2002 and by 2007 was almost perfect.
Then 2012 elections with biometric cheat-proof registration led to the now extended period for the process of registration through to provisional list displaying. The following information should be of some help in putting things in perspective
"The electoral process got underway with voter registration for eligible Sierra Leone citizens from Jan. 24 to Feb. 10, 2002. Approximately 20,000 names were added to the lists during the exhibition period, March 9-13, and a special registration period was organized on April 20-24 for thousands of returning refugees.
The voter registration process was hampered by high illiteracy rates, limited media and voter education outreach, inadequate materials and staff at some registration sites, and changes in the voter registration system compared to the 1996 elections.
Nevertheless, over 2.3 million citizens registered, representing about 85 percent of eligible voters."
President Jimmy Carter in his Carter Center Report on Sierra Leone's May 14th 2002 General Elections. This indicates the time needed between commencement of registration and actual voting day in Sierra Leone was far less than 6 months in 2002.
"During the voter registration process, held from February 26 to March 18, 2007, 2.6 million Sierra Leoneans (estimated at 90 percent of eligible voters) registered to vote, of which 49 percent were female and 56 percent were under the age of 32. The NEC trained polling agents throughout February to staff the country’s 2,740 registration centers, which were equipped to register 2,000 voters each. In accordance with Sierra Leone’s laws and international standards, the Provisional Voters Register (PVR) was displayed at registration centers during an “exhibition and challenges” period from May 21 to 25."
National Democratic Institute (NDI) Report on Sierra Leone's August 11th 2007 General Elections. This indicates the time needed between commencement of registration and actual voting day was less than 6 months in 2007.
"For the first time, Sierra Leone introduced a biometric voter registration system. The registration of voters, or the field data-capturing phase, took place from Jan. 23 to March 26, 2012. The registration took place in 2,998 voter registration centers in all 14 electoral districts.
The next phase of the process required the consolidation and matching of the data, which necessitated expertise and technical support not available in Sierra Leone. Of the 2,663,746 registrants in the database, 2,632,742 were matched with fingerprint data, and 29,607 were matched using facial data. A total of 9,890 were found to be duplicates.
After these data checks, the voter identity cards and the provisional voter register were produced for the 2012 elections. In accordance with Sierra Leone’s laws and international standards, the register was exhibited between June 30 and July 4 at voter registration centers. On Oct. 2, the commission announced that 2,692,635 voters had been registered in the final voter register."
Carter Center Report on Sierra Leone's November 17th 2012 General Elections. This indicates the time needed between commencement of registration and actual voting day in Sierra Leone increased significantly because of biometrich system used.
From just over 3 months in 2002 to 5 months in 2007, biometric registration in 2012, was now requiring at least ten (10) full months between commencement of Voter registration and Polling Day.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.