In the wake of the Sierra Leone presidential election, the National Election Watch (NEW) has raised concerns about the official results announced by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL).
NEW’s analysis of the data released by the ECSL indicates significant inconsistencies between the parliamentary and presidential election results in several districts. As a result, NEW is urging the ECSL to release all polling station level results to ensure transparency and facilitate independent analysis.
The findings of NEW’s analysis show discrepancies in turnout and vote shares between the presidential and parliamentary elections across multiple districts. While the overall turnout remained relatively stable, there were variations within districts.
For instance, in four districts in the North and South, the parliamentary election witnessed significantly lower turnout compared to the presidential election.
The Western Area also displayed notable differences, with a higher number of voters casting their ballots in the parliamentary election but not the presidential election.
Moreover, the analysis revealed contrasting voting patterns in certain districts. Falaba, for example, witnessed the All People’s Congress (APC) receiving a higher percentage of the vote share in the parliamentary election compared to the presidential election, while the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) experienced the opposite. Similar variations were observed in Karene and Port Loko districts.
Another concern raised by NEW pertains to the rate of invalid ballots. The official results released by the ECSL indicated a consistent rate of approximately 0.4% invalid ballots for both the presidential and parliamentary elections.
However, historical trends suggest higher rates in parliamentary elections, whereas the presidential election results reflected a significantly lower rate compared to previous elections.
The Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) projected a 4.8% rate of invalid ballots for the presidential election, further emphasizing the discrepancy.
Given these inconsistencies, NEW is calling on the ECSL to enhance transparency by releasing all polling station level results. This step would not only promote trust and credibility but also enable further independent analysis of the electoral process.