The National Elections Commission (NEC) was among several Liberian institutions that participated in this year’s International Visitor Leadership Program run by the United States (U.S.) Department of State.
The Commission was represented by its Deputy-Executive Director for Operations, Emma Togba.
The program focused on Elections Management and Operations and its goal was to provide first-hand knowledge about U.S. politics and society.
It also helped to enhance the planning capacity of the National Elections Commission and other pro-democracy organizations for the run up to the conduct of 2017 General Elections.
The participating organizations visited several organizations in the United States to discuss how U.S. elections are handled; how citizens are encouraged to participate in elections; how volunteers are recruited and trained to work at the polls and within the society.
Discussions were also held on campaign financing, equal access to media and activities of various political parties, and NGOs.
The team was briefed about how local, state and federal elections are handled concurrently, how absentee voting is handled and how local police interact with local authorities to ensure security on Election Day.
The team witnessed firsthand early voting in Boston and spoke to the Honorable Dion S. Irish, Chairperson of the Board of Elections Commissioners about how elections are managed and conducted in accordance with law.
Discussions were held with representatives of several other organizations and respectable citizens in Washington DC, Chicago and Boston.
Other Liberian institutions that participated in the exercise are Angie Brooks International, the Judiciary, Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), Chief Suah Koko Center and Women In Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET).
At the end of the professional program, the knowledge was reinforced about the responsibility of all sectors in ensuring peaceful elections for a smooth transition of power in Liberia and the civic responsibility of Liberians to continue educating each other for greater community involvement, volunteerism and overall development.