Polling started at 7:00 Am in 95% of polling stations nation-wide. 5% of polling stations did not open on time due to technical problems. However, all 9,493 polling stations are now opened with high voter turnout nationwide.
The process of verification of voters was slow at the beginning but has been accelerated after polling staff have familiarised themselves with the procedures. However, vehicles distributing voting materials in Ward 49 Dodo Chiefdom and Ward 38 Njakungoma Lower Bambara Chiefdom all in Kenema district had break down. Nevertheless, the vehicles have been recovered and voting materials delivered in all polling stations within the Wards. Voting is now in progress. One rental vehicle from Tongo after delivering materials was involved in an accident by Air Field in Kenema.
Reports of misplacement of Final Voters Register were reported from Bombali and Koinadugu districts which affected the opening of polls in the affected centres. In Ward 43 Diang Chiefdom, Koinadugu District, valid voter ID cards were used to generate the Final Voters Register in the full view of party agents and observers. In Makali Tonkolili, polls did not open on time due to the unavailability of ballot box lids. However, this was swiftly addressed by the District Officer and voting is now in progress
In Bo City, there was report of shortage of Mayor ballot papers. Ballot papers were recouped from other polling centres and the situation is now under control. In Bonthe District, report of absence of validation stamp and Reconciliation Result Forms were missing for Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Ward 261. However, with the consent of party agents, presiding officers' signatures at the back of ballot papers indicate the validity of ballots. Reconciliation Result Forms have also been provided.
In Freetown, polling was delayed in Ward 352 in the Lumley and Malama axis due to late delivery. Polling materials have now been delivered and the verification of voters has been accelerated. There are also reports of breakdown of two Road Transport Cooperation buses which have been replaced.
The Commission is concerned with report of parallel voter identification activity by political party agents nationwide, thereby disrupting the smooth verification of voters. Some arrests have been made.
The Commission will like to convey its appreciation to the voting public for the peaceful conduct, high voter turnout and patience while waiting in long queues to exercise their franchise.
The Commission also appreciates the contribution of the security forces to the electoral process so far.
Dr. Christiana Thorpe
Chief Electoral Commissioner/Chairperson