United States Ambassador Christine Elder says Liberians must take cue from the US elections to ensure a peaceful transition in 2017 in the presidential and legislative elections in the country.
Moments after the closing of the polls in the United States yesterday, she told journalists that despite campaign talks and heated debate of the US presidential elections – described as the most divisive and bitter presidential election in recent memory – Americans would go behind the winning candidate in support of the United States.
Ambassador Elder called on every political player in Liberia to show commitment to maintain positive rhetoric for the coming elections and be willing to learn and improve on the political process.
She noted that Liberian political and security leaders must see the reason why Liberia’s next transfer of power should be fair, democratic and peaceful.
Ambassador Elder expressed the hope that Liberians watching the unfolding events in the United States would think on how to improve Liberia’s systems and enhance citizens’ voices through the electoral process.
She said Liberia has come a long way in 70 years that a sitting president is going to transfer power to an elected president and therefore the 2017 presidential and legislative elections must represent the right, power and privilege for Liberians to choose their representatives.
Reports monitored by the Daily Observer yesterday showed how Democratic Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton was mobbed by fellow voters when she arrived at her polling place around 8a.m. yesterday in Chappaqua, New York, along with her husband, former US President Bill Clinton, hugging and interacted with members of the crowd.
Republican challenger billionaire Donald Trump, whose political debut was initially seen as a circus act, bested 16 other Republicans for the right to face Hillary Clinton, who has lived and breathed campaigns and elections for more than 40 years, Dailymailonline reported.
Trump cast his vote at 11am on Tuesday, showing up to his polling place with wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and granddaughter Arabella.
Asked by journalists if he would concede should the networks call the race for Clinton, Trump said: “We’ll see what happens.” Most tracking polls showed Trump leading Clinton by just a few percentage points heading into the final hours of the election.
“It is the most humbling feeling,” said Clinton after casting her ballot on Tuesday. “I know how much responsibility goes with this.”
Trump got a far frostier reception outside his polling spot, where he was greeted by a chorus of ‘boos’ as he went in to vote with his family.
Once inside though, he bought a cookie from a young boy who was having a bake sale, handing him a $20 bill and telling him he could keep the change.
Also voting early on Tuesday was Clinton’s vice presidential pick Tim Kaine, who brought his mother Mary with him to his Virginia polling station. Eric Trump also cast his vote on Tuesday and shared a photo of his filled out ballot, which is technically illegal in the state of New York.
And shortly after Trump went to the polls, his running mate Mike Pence voted with his wife in Indiana. The USC/LA Times Daybreak tracking poll shows Trump leading Clinton by three percentage points, 46.8% – 43.6%, which is less than the lead of six percentage points he had at one point over the summer.
In a four-way reace, the IBD/TIPP presidential tracking poll showed Trump with a two-point lead over Clinton, 45% to 43%, with Gary Johnson getting 7% and Jill Stein 2%. When Stein and Johnson are taken out of the equation, it was Clinton who led Trump by a percentage point in that poll.
Though while the final tally was eagerly expected late last night, with majority hoping for a Clinton victory, media outlets’ analyses pulled people’s attention to the tube watching one of the world’s most spectacular events in history.
It is interesting to note that the occurrence of certain events that could cause widespread condemnation in Liberia, for example, got a mild reaction from American voters, which Liberians could take a cue from, since the primary objective is to ensure a united Liberia to lead the country in 2017.
For example NBC New York reported that a number of voters were experiencing problems at their polling stations in the city, from scanners and machines that were not working to locations that opened hours later than expected.
In North Carolina, the Durham County Board of Elections asked that voting time must be extended by 90 minutes on Tuesday after a glitch a glitch in their electronic voter check-in system.
That error led to longer waiting times for those in the area, where 37 percent of registered voters were African Americans.
There were also problems reported with voting machines in Washington County, Utah, forcing a switch to paper ballots.
And in Hoboken, New Jersey, the city’s own mayor reported that she was asked for an ID, which is a violation of voting laws in that state. All those frustrations did not compel American voters against the spirit of the elections and they went on peacefully.
As US Ambassador Elder told journalists at the US Embassy near Monrovia yesterday, Liberians, including politicians must learn from her country’s experience to make peace in Liberia paramount in the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.