Carter Center Questions the Credibility of Sierra Leone Election Results and Calls for Release of Results at the Polling Station Level

ATLANTA (July 21, 2023) — Following the conclusion of the tabulation process, the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) released final results for parliamentary, mayoral, and local government elections in the first days of July showing unusual variances compared to the results of the presidential race released on June 27. This heightens doubts about the credibility of the tabulation process and the results from the June 24 election.

Parliamentary, mayoral, and local government election results were initially released by verbal announcements at a press conference on July 1. The actual numbers were then published over multiple days on social media. Comparing the ECSL’s data for the parliamentary elections with the presidential results, there are differences in turnout as well as differences in votes for key parties in many districts. These variances raise further questions about the credibility of the election results.

The Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) exercise conducted by the National Election Watch raises similar concerns about the credibility of the presidential results, particularly when analyzed with The Carter Center’s direct observations in the five tabulation centers. The Carter Center is familiar with and has confidence in the methodology of the PRVT conducted by National Election Watch (NEW). Sample-based observation methodologies have been conducted by NEW in elections in Sierra Leone since 2007 with a high degree of professionalism and have successfully projected electoral results with statistical confidence.

To ensure the credibility of the process, The Carter Center again calls on the ECSL to release results at the polling station level, consistent with international best practice, to allow for cross-verification of results recorded by party agents and observers on election day.

Where there are discrepancies in the results announced by the ECSL and those recorded by party agents and observers, reviews of ballot box seals and recounts can be conducted to affirm the credibility of the results announced by the ECSL. The publication of the original Reconciliation & Result Forms, retained by the ECSL, can also help establish the credibility of the results.

The Carter Center also is deeply concerned about reports of intimidation of some election observers and calls on all Sierra Leoneans to ensure that accredited election observers can carry out their responsibilities. Election observers play a critical role in providing transparency, and their reports can help verify the credibility of the process.


Contact: In Atlanta, Maria Cartaya,

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.