ElectionsMedia LiteracySierra Leone

2023 Sierra Leone Elections: Steps to cast your vote

As the general elections are imminent in Sierra Leone, and everyone is in anticipation of choosing a new president, it is important to remember certain procedures to follow as you cast your vote.

  1. Proceed to the Voter Identification Officer (VIO) to acknowledge your voting eligibility 

The first thing you are expected to do when you arrive at the polling unit is to approach the Voter Identification Officer (VIO)  to confirm your eligibility status to vote. You may not be allowed to cast your ballot if your voting details are not confirmed to be valid. 

So, approach the Voter Identification Officer when you arrive at the polling unit; they will check your details to confirm that you have been registered as a voter. After being acknowledged as a duly registered voter, you’d be referred to the ballot paper issuer.

  1. Proceed to collect your ballot paper 

A ballot paper will be issued to acknowledge and confirm your choices at the polling unit. The ballot paper is the only recognised material to be cast into the ballot bag. Only the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ELCS) can produce the ballot paper with certain print features. So, counterfeit ballot papers will be easily detected and rejected.

ECSL makes the ballot papers available to eligible voters through its ballot paper issuer. 

  1. Go to the voting screen to indicate your choice of candidate 

With your ballot paper in your possession, you’d be directed to a voting screen where you’d conveniently and privately indicate your choice of candidates on the ballot papers.

Bear in mind that the importance of the voting screen is to secure essential privacy and security that will keep voters away from harm due to the choices they make at the polling units. So a booth is created so voters can indicate their choices on the ballot paper without interference, intimidation, threat or harm from anybody.

As an eligible voter, the commission expects you to walk to the voting screen (and no other place) to cast your vote.

According to the ECSL, two options are available to voters to indicate their choices on the ballot papers. They are:

  1. Boldly place a check (✓) with your pen against your choice of candidate in the box provided next to his name and political party.
  2. Carefully thumbprint in the space available next to the name of your choice of candidate and political party.

Please note that you are expected to indicate your choice within the box/space the electoral commission provides next to the name of your preferred candidate and party.

                4. Move to the ballot boxes and insert your ballot papers into them 

After carefully indicating your choices on the ballot papers, move over to the ballot boxes designated for each political office and slip the ballot papers meant for each. Ensure that you slide in the form successfully through the little entrance of each box.               

                 5. Leave the voting station after casting your ballot papers 

After successfully casting your ballot papers into the boxes, move away from the ballot boxes not to obstruct the voting process or be labelled an unwanted obstruction to the election process.

Walking out of the voting room or area after casting your vote is always advisable to establish ease of voting and not be an unwanted obstruction.

While you can stay near the polling centre, you cannot loiter around the polling station.

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