Liberia elections glossary: 10 terms you need to be familiar with as political campaign starts 

The race to the Liberia Executive mansion has formally gotten underway, with political campaigns officially declared open according to the National Elections Commission (NEC) timetable for the impending elections.

There are twenty political parties and two independent candidates vying for the presidency of the oldest West African nation, Liberia.

Also, 1,030 persons are contesting for the Liberian legislature, with the Liberian Senate accounting for 100 candidates and the House of Representatives accounting for the rest.                     

As the campaign officially commenced on August 5, 2023, here are something you need to know:

1. Election: It is the process of choosing or voting for a particular candidate or individual contesting for a particular position in an electoral process through a secret ballot. The election is also a competition wherein the best ideas win the day. To win an election, those seeking elective offices must be able to convince the electorates through their platforms or manifestos. FindOut, is a website that defines elections as the process of voting to choose someone to be their political leader or to be their representative in government.    

2. Civil and voter education: According to Ace, the elections knowledge network, this process prepares electorates. All they need to know about elections and how important it is to partake in electioneering processes. According to Ace, voter education “encompasses the basic information every voter must have to arrive prepared at the voting station and vote on the dedicated voting day(s). Voter education sensitises the electorate on the importance of participating in elections. Voter education provides the background attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge among citizens that stimulate and consolidate democracy.”

3. Sample ballots: According to Cornell Law School, it is a fake version of the actual elections ballot papers that is provided to the voters before the actual elections’ day.

“Sample ballots are often mailed to registered voters before an election and generally include the candidates, measures, the voter’s polling location, polling location hours, and instructions for voting.” Cornell Law School noted.

4. Campaign: According to Chapter 5, section 5.1 of the election guidelines, a campaign is “any activity of an aspirant, candidate, political party, coalition, alliance, political movement or others done for the purpose of electing or promoting an aspirant or candidate for elective public office.”  

5. Ballots paper: This is a sheet of paper with various candidates, political parties or prepositions used to cast a secret vote during an election process.

6. Inkers: These individuals are responsible for inking the fingers of persons who have already voted to avoid them voting again for the second time.

7. Queue Controller: They ensure that electorates are in an organised queue as they vote on election day.

8. Ballot paper issuers: These are persons temporarily hired by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to take charge of the ballot papers and provide them to electorates on elections to enable them to cast their votes.

9. Presiding officers: They supervise a voting precinct on election day. This person is the head of four or five temporary staff of the NEC responsible for conducting the elections at every precinct on election days.

10. Voting precinct: This is one of several places used to cast votes by electorates on elections day. A voting precinct contains more than one polling place.

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