Liberia's election is finished, but tensions are far from over

Nov 12, 2011

The results are in – almost. Four days after Liberia’s run-off election, 97.6% of the country’s polling place results have been released by the National Elections Commission and are displayed on the Ushahidi elections instance (click on each county to see the breakdown). Incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the clear victor with just over 90% of the vote; the opposition’s Winston Tubman currently has 9.4%. The opposition party’s low count is in part due to their last-minute boycott of the election in which supporters were urged to stay away from the polls. With this in mind, and other opposition parties supporting Johnson Sirleaf, the outcome was not surprising. The turnout, largely affected by the boycott, is tallied at 37.5% - nearly half of the first round turnout.

In the days between the run-off and NEC's first announcement, the Liberia Media Center published unofficial rolling results from field journalists covering the polling places. These initial results were the first and only vote counts available to the Liberian public, and were published right away on the elections instance as “LMC run-off vote counts” (just below categories, under “other layers”). The Elections Coordinating Committee, active observers during the first round, sent out another 1,750+ monitors on run-off day who have now returned to iLab and are diligently recording the events that occurred at Liberia’s polling places. These ECC reports from the first round can be found under the category "ECC election day monitoring"). Second round ECC reports will appear on the map once the data operators have received all polling checklists.

During the last week, the majority of the map’s reports have been about the events surrounding Monday’s CDC rally turned violent, and minor incidents during the run-off and the following day. Some of the incidents reported include: attempted ballot box stealing, the torn down polling station results, tear gas fired by police when a crowd refused to give up ballot boxes, the closure of three major radio stations on charges of hate speech, the burning of a major radio station that is still under investigation, and Thursday's release of 84 persons arrested during the rally.

Since Wednesday, the Ushahidi Liberia team has mostly been mapping news from the local media and international observers such as the Carter Center and ECOWAS. We plan to continue updating these vote counts until the final results are released. However, with recent news that opposition leader Winston Tubman will contest the results and seek legal action to hold another election next month, this election map may not go quiet simply because the last vote is counted.