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Sierra Leone

Elections (SL0018)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: National Electoral Commission (NEC)

Support Institution(s): National Registration Secretariat, Ministry of Internal Affairs; National Election Watch NEW Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) Youth Coalition, Women's Forum, Society for Democratic

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Data, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
Currently, and boundary limitation are not published online and in an open data format. As Sierra Leone plans for the fourth post-conflict elections in 2017/18 it becomes necessary to digitize access to elections related information so as to allow citizens access and promote a level playing field for all players. The publishing of boundary delimitation data allows for scrutiny and review at the individual political level and makes for substantial savings, better data discovery and data reuse. More importantly it fosters credible and free and transparent elections.

Main objective
Promote transparency and accountability in the management of elections.

Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
This commitment will promote transparency and accountability in the management of elections by making available constituency and boundary information in electronic format online. It will also improve the transmission of election results through technology and making them available online in open data format.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Elections

Commitment Text:

This commitment will promote transparency and accountability in the management of elections by making available constituency and boundary information in electronic format online. It will also improve the transmission of election results through technology and making them available online in open data format.

Milestones: Promote transparency and accountability in the management of elections by making available:

  • Constituency and boundary information in electronic format online

Improving the transmission of election results through technology and making them available online in open data format

Responsible institution: National Elections Commission

Supporting institution(s): National Elections Watch, Campaign for Good Governance, Youth Coalition, Women’s Forum.

Start date: July 2016 End date: June 2018

Context and Objectives

Sierra Leone is divided into constituencies for national elections. The boundaries of constituencies are revised every five to seven years.[Note110: The Public Elections Act, 2012, Sierra-leone.org/Laws/2012-04.pdf] The National Elections Commission (NEC) is responsible for monitoring and regulation of all election-related efforts, including registering voters, demarcating constituency boundaries and managing elections. The NEC is also required to openly publish information on certain elections processes, such as election dates, list of candidates and voters as well as election results.[Note111: sierra-leone.org/Laws/constitution1991.pdf] Information on constituency boundaries is not among the elections information that the constitution or the electoral laws specify that NEC publish, however, the NEC published this data for the 2007 and 2012 elections.[Note112: http://necsl2018.org/electoral-boundaries/] Prior to this information, people would not know where to go to vote or campaign.[Note113: IRM researcher’s interview of the head and deputy head of the National Elections Watch, 6 November 2017. ] According to civil society activists, this information should be more accessible as confusion still occurs.[Note114: Consensus opinion at the civil society stakeholder meeting of 20 October 2017.] Using telephone communication and SMS messages as a platform for disseminating information on locations of polling stations could help to address these confusions.[Note115: Ibid.]

The objective of the commitment is to publish information on constituency boundaries online and ensure the transmission of elections results online. The commitment is relevant to OGP’s access to information and technological innovation values as it aims to facilitate citizens access to elections-related information. However, it will have a minor impact given that prior to this commitment, the NEC had already made efforts to provide election information online in digital format, including information on constituency boundaries and election results. Representatives of the civil society elections monitoring network say that the milestone to publish information on constituency boundaries is not a new activity resulting from this commitment.[Note116: IRM researcher’s interview of the head and deputy head of the National Elections Watch, 6 November 2017.]

Completion

The NEC published information on constituency boundaries for the 2018 general elections on its website following completion of the boundary delineation exercise at the end of 2016.[Note117: http://necsl2018.org/electoral-boundaries/] However, according to the representatives of the civil society elections monitoring network, NEC had published demarcated constituency boundaries for previous elections. Therefore, publication of information on 2018 general elections is not a new addition to the range of information that NEC provides citizens.[Note118: National Electoral Commission, www.necsl.org]

However, as a way of improving the transmission of election results through technology, the NEC has developed a test version of an android app that can be downloaded on any android device. It features voter lists, elections updates, and election results.[Note119: Sierra Leone Elections, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.necsl.necapp&hl=en] In addition to the app, NEC has used printed materials, radio announcements, newspaper inserts and a website to give out elections information to the public; and intends to continue to do so, including publication of the 2018 election results.[Note120: IRM researcher’s interview of Chief of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, 19 October 2017]

Early Results (if any)

The constituency boundaries delineated for the 2018 general elections are on the NEC’s website; citizens can look up to see which constituency they fall in. At the time of writing this report, the website is the only place people could go to find out in which constituency they would be voting. According to civil society leaders interviewed, the website information is not relevant to voters in places without internet access and, therefore, request that hard copies of the information be made available to the public. According to a NEC official, the android application for sharing elections information has not been publicised because it is still being tested.[Note121: IRM researcher’s interview of Chief of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, 19 October 2017.] Participants at the civil society stakeholder meeting were not aware of the application’s existence. However, senior officials of the civil society elections observation network interviewed by the researcher were aware of the test version and lauded the application.[Note122: IRM researcher’s interview of the head and deputy head of the National Elections Watch, 6 November 2017. ]

Next Steps

The IRM researcher recommends that NEC finds ways to provide information on constituency boundaries demarcation in offline formats as well so that people without internet access know where to vote.[Note123: Ibid.]

The NEC needs to engage civil society and collaborate on how to popularise the elections app and gather feedback on how to improve it.


Sierra Leone's Commitments

  1. Gender

    SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Foriegn Aid Transparency

    SL0013, 2016, Aid

  3. Waste Management

    SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget

    SL0015, 2016, E-Government

  5. Audit Report

    SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls

  6. Climate Change

    SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Elections

    SL0018, 2016, E-Government

  8. Record Archive Management

    SL0019, 2016, E-Government

  9. Access to Justice

    SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Open Public Procurement Contracting

    SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts

    SL0009, 2014, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Right to Access Information Law

    SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building

  13. Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions

    SL0011, 2014, E-Government

  14. Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

    SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  15. Archives and Records Management Act

    SL0002, 2014, E-Government

  16. Scale Up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate

    SL0003, 2014, Public Participation

  17. Compliance with Audit Measures

    SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls

  18. Starred commitment Single Treasure Account

    SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries

  19. Extractive Industry Revenue Act

    SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries

  20. Scaling Up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives

    SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs

    SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building