Innovating Elections Project
Building on 6 years of tech-for-elections projects and partnerships with local and international elections stakeholders, iLab Liberia created an online elections data hub - Liberia Elections Portal - and provided tech skills-building trainings to civic coalitions and election monitors in preparation for the 2017 presidential elections. Information was collated - and in some cases, liberated - from closed formats, and shared on the elections portal (via mapping, directory, infographics and more) to better inform stakeholders and the voting population while promoting a transparent electoral process.
Liberia’s 2017 elections marked the first post-war presidential transition and took place in a significantly different political and socio-economic environment than that of the 2011 elections. With the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown, as well as the budget shortfalls and a corruption scandal that destabilized the House of Representatives, building public confidence in the electoral process and Liberia’s commitment to strengthening democracy was as important as ever.
One of iLab’s guiding objectives, in this project and in our overall work, is that access to information about the electoral process from a range of stakeholders has the potential to ignite demand for democracy and greater transparency surrounding the elections. Although findings show that access to information has improved for most of Liberia’s population since the civil war, and internet access has greatly improved since the 2011 elections, there is a lack of consolidated election-related information from key actors such as the media, civil society organizations & coalitions, and the from even the national government.
The Liberia elections platform now provides open data using a range of different tools (maps, a directory, downloadable datasets) of the past three general elections in Liberia. Because of this project, Liberians, researchers and the public now have a one-stop repository of Liberia’s elections from 2005 to present. Unlike previous efforts to make elections data available, the platform provides a precise, well-categorized and detailed dataset with maps, infographics, interactive database directory, downloadable datasets and election-related reports that provide not only comprehensive election results but also many election stakeholders’ press releases, election observation data and more.