Lawmakers Who Attended More Sessions Had Better Reelection Chances

MONROVIA, Montserrado – With 60 percent of current lawmakers being booted out of office, one may get the idea that Liberian voters are simply punishing all lawmakers.

However, this is not necessarily the case, as analysis of the IREDD 2016 report on lawmakers’ performance shows that those who were ranked as performing better were much more likely to be reelected than those who were rated poorly.

Lawmakers who scored an A, which was the equivalent of attending over 70 of the 78 sessions or were excused based on official duty on session day, were over 3.5 times more likely to be reelected than those who scored a C or lower, equal to attending fewer than 63 sessions.

The rating was only attendance-based and did not factor in other aspects of the functions of lawmakers; however, it is still noteworthy that it correlates strongly with the chances of reelection.

In our analysis, The Bush Chicken modified IREDD’s original scorecard for the lawmakers because it unfairly penalized lawmakers who were traveling on official business, such as those who served in the ECOWAS Parliament (Nimba’s Sen. Prince Johnson has raised this issue for at least two years now).

Our detailed tallying of each lawmaker’s grade and the result of their reelection bid can be found here. We did not include cases where lawmakers did not run for reelection, died in office, or where the National Elections Commission has not yet provided a final winner (Nimba’s eighth district).

The results show that 59 percent of lawmakers scoring A were reelected while 38 percent of those scoring a B were reelected. Only 2 of the 12 lawmakers (17 percent) who scored a C or below and were running for reelection were actually retained.

Those two lawmakers were Montserrado’s eighth and ninth district representatives, Acarous Gray and Munah Pelham-Youngblood, respectively. Their reelection attests to the strong support that their party, the Coalition for Democratic Change, enjoys in Montserrado, where one of the county’s two senatorial seats is held by the party’s leader, George Weah, and where 9 of the 17 representative seats went to CDC members in the October 10, 2017 election.

Correction: A previous version of this article suggested that the two senatorial seats in Montserrado were held by CDC members. It has been corrected to reflect Sen. Geraldine Doe-Sheriff’s resignation from the CDC.

Featured photo by David Stanley

Jefferson is a co-founder of The Bush Chicken. He has a Masters in Transportation Infrastructure and Systems Engineering and previously worked for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Washington, DC.

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