The Electoral Division was headquartered in Monrovia and headed by the Senior Electoral Officer (SEO), Carlos Valenzuela. UNOMIL’s electoral mandate for the 1997 Liberian elections was to observe and verify the election process. This was to be conducted in consultation with the Organization of African Unity and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The role of the Electoral Division grew to encompass logistic, operational, and civic education assistance to the Independent Elections Commission (IECOM), the independent organization mandated to organize and administer the elections. The elections were held in July 1997.
Chronological files are included in the records of the Electoral Division consist in part of periodic reports from: the SEO to the SRSG about the registration process; the IECOM to the SEO, titled “Elections Magistrates County Assessment Reports” about operations, personnel and accommodation for polling sites; and from the NGO Refugee Policy Group about the repatriation of refugees and the electoral process.
Chronological files also include notes to file and briefs about: disarmament and the electoral process; revisions to electoral law, the electoral budget, the elections timetable, and to the Code of Conduct for Political Parties; analyses of ECOWAS meetings about the assessment of preparations for the election; meetings with the European Union (EU) Electoral Mission; drafts of the Secretary-General’s briefs to the Security Council about the electoral process with hand-written notes by the SEO.
The records of the Electoral Division also consist of daily, weekly, and monthly field electoral observation reports sent from the SEO to the SRSG which cover such topics as: the roles of UNOMIL and IECOM in the preparation for the elections; and summaries of complaints made by political parties of political intimidation.
Highlights of the Division records include: an 18 January 1997 code cable from the SRSG to UNNY titled “Advanced Planning for UNOMIL’s Electoral Division”, about the status of the mission’s electoral mandate; a 17 June 1997 memorandum titled “Electoral Observation Requirements” to the SRSG from the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD), Department of Political Affairs, UNNY; and a briefing for the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Marrack Goulding’s 12-15 May 1997 visit to the mission to asses the electoral process.