Senesee Geso Freeman
Program Officer, IFES
Voter Registration, Voter Education, Boundary Delimitation/Districting
, voter fraud, voter education, rural voter registration, registration audit, enfranchising marginalized groups, election schedules, election management body, donor relations, boundary delimitation/districting
Wed Aug 8 2007
In this interview, Senesee Freeman discusses the role that the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) played in the 2005 Liberian Elections. IFES supported the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia in rewriting portions of the country’s electoral laws, determining the budget for the elections, registering voters and demarcating voting districts. IFES aimed to increase civic participation of traditionally marginalized populations, such as women and the disabled, by tailoring messages and educational materials for these specific groups and using members of these groups to disseminate them. Freeman emphasizes the importance of tailoring educational materials in all scenarios; materials should be translated to local dialects or languages and elicit the involvement of respected locals, particularly those in prominent positions like town criers. IFES aimed not only to encourage increased participation through these means, but also to encourage individuals to vote according to their consciences rather than succumb to the temptation of voting for candidates who aim to buy votes by providing individuals with material incentives. Freeman also points out that the timing of the elections, at the peak of the rainy season, introduces a number of logistical issues. He concludes by suggesting that resources be constantly and incrementally set aside for the purpose of elections, rather than the country relying on massive international support directly before an election.
At the time of this interview, Senesee Freeman was a Program Officer for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Liberia. Freeman studied at the University of Liberia and proceeded to work in local Liberia-based development agencies, including the New African Research and Development Agency (NARDA), where he worked to facilitate the capacity building of local non-governmental organizations. He later worked with Synergies International; where he aimed to assist marginalized populations, including ex-combatants, reintegrate themselves into Liberian society.