Amidst the backdrop of low turnout, apathy, long distances to inspection centers, financial hardships, and time constraints faced by communities, a remarkable story of resilience unfolded in Bomi County. Local leadership inspired and mobilized citizens to actively participate in the voter registration exhibition/inspection process. This story highlights the significant impact of local community efforts in overcoming multiple barriers and fostering widespread civic engagement.
Bomi County is in the western region of Liberia.
It is one of the 15 counties in Liberia and has a population of approximately 84,119 people (as of the 2008 census).
The county covers an area of about 1,942 square kilometers.
The capital city of Bomi County is Tubmanburg.
2023 Provisional Registration figures for Bomi districts:
❖ District 1: 9,410 Females. 9,823 Males.
❖ District 2: 9,423 Females. 9,720 Males.
❖ District 3: 11,844 Females.12,891 Males.
EISA observed consistent low turnout and interest in the Provisional Registration Roll (PRR) exhibition (between 12 – 17 June 2023) at exhibition centers. For registrants, making corrections was challenging due to the need to travel between inspection centers and the National Elections Commission (NEC) Magistrate’s office. Financial and time constraints further hindered community members from participating in the inspection of the provisional voters’ roll. Many communities reported to EISA they already possessed registration cards with their details and saw no need to check these details further during the PRR exhibition stage.
In Bomi, Lower Margibi and Grand Cape Mount counties the first two days of the provisional registration roll (PRR) exhibition period recorded low turnout in most centers. This lackluster attendance was noted with concern by Ernest K. Moibah (NEC Exhibition Officer). In response, Mr Anthony Healoi (Township Commissioner) activated the town crier and township elders, inspiring their fellow citizens to step forward and participate in the process. Community leaders understood that they needed to reach out to every corner of Jenneh #3, ensuring that no citizen was left uninformed or disengaged.
Local community leaders intensified their efforts to create awareness about the importance of the voter registration exhibition. They organized community meetings, where they addressed the concerns and doubts of the citizens. The leaders emphasized the importance of their participation and highlighted how their collective efforts could shape the direction of the town’s perception of the exhibition process.
As word spread throughout Jenneh #3, local NEC officials noticed a shift take place. On day 3 of the exhibition, the turnout improved as numbers visiting the registration centers began to increase, with citizens now determined to participate in the process that would contribute to the integrity of the final registration roll. The community came together, rallying around the importance of active citizenship and the strength of their collective voice. The local leaders played a pivotal role in fostering a culture of participation, transforming apathy into engagement and disinterest into enthusiasm.
EISA observers witnessed the transformative power of local leaders in Jenneh #3. Their unwavering commitment, strategic initiatives, and personal engagement breathed life into the voter registration exhibition process, ensuring that every citizen had the opportunity to make their mark and contribute to the democratic process. These initiatives also made a significant contribution to raising public awareness by informing the community about the PRR, even when individuals are not actively seeking election-related information. In the face of low turnout, apathy, long distances, and financial hardships, local leadership strengthened the electoral process through action. Their unwavering efforts not only contributed to overcoming multiple barriers but also fostering inclusive and democratic societies. This inspirational story showcases the power of local leadership in driving positive change and emphasizes the importance of collective action in strengthening democratic processes.
About USAID Support to EISA-IEOM to Liberia: The USAID-funded EISA International Election Observation Mission (EISA-IEOM) Activity seeks to enhance the integrity of the 2023 Liberia Presidential and Legislative elections through the deployment of an independent international election observer mission (EOM) to monitor, assess and report on all phases of the electoral process in accordance with international and regional benchmarks. The IEOM is implemented in close coordination with the financial support of USAID/Liberia and will complement the efforts of other electoral stakeholders.