As Sierra Leone gears up for the highly anticipated 2023 elections, it is essential to understand the step-by-step process through which the results will be counted, collated, and ultimately announced.
With 3,374,258 registered voters, marking an increase of 195,595 from 2018, the democratic process is set to unfold with fervor.
Here is a step-by-step process through which the results will be counted, collated, and ultimately announced;
• The process of vote counting in Sierra Leone involves both physical and electronic methods. At polling stations, votes are manually counted by election officials. Additionally, at the district and regional tallying centers, overseen by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) who’s responsible for managing the country’s national elections
• At polling stations across the nation, the physical counting of votes takes place, following a meticulous five-stage process. The ballot papers undergo screening, reunification, reconciliation, sorting, and finally, counting. Once the counting is complete, the presiding officer at each polling station publicly announces the results for agents and observers to record.
• To ensure accuracy and efficiency, the outcomes are then recorded in a reconciliation and result form (RRF). These provisional results from all polling stations are subsequently transmitted to the respective district tallying centers, where electronic tallying occurs. Each region, led by a regional commissioner, announces the provisional results via traditional media, providing a glimpse into the evolving electoral landscape.
• As the anticipation reaches its peak, the provisional results are further consolidated at the National Tallying Center (NTC). It is within this central hub that the final tallying takes place, paving the way for the announcement of the official results.
• The responsibility of declaring the final results rests with the chief electoral commissioner, who, in a momentous occasion, will address the nation via traditional mass media platforms.
In the quest for victory in the presidential race, a candidate must secure a minimum of 55 percent of the total votes cast. Should this threshold not be achieved during the first round of voting, a run-off election will be held. This process, familiar from the 2018 election, will involve the two candidates with the highest number of votes competing head-to-head for the ultimate victory.