IEC to conduct exit poll during voting

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pretoria - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has assigned an independent research organisation to conduct an exit poll during today's national and provincial elections to promote transparency.

This is also aimed at promoting accountability as well as obtaining feedback on matters relating to the overall electoral operations.

"About 400 field workers from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will interview voters and observers in 400 randomly selected voting stations in all the countries nine provinces," the IEC said.

The Commission is requesting voters to cooperate with HSRC researchers and help as much possible.

Questions to be asked would centre around time spent queuing to vote; accessibility of the voting station; clarity of the process to be followed inside the voting station; knowledge of voting procedures voting officers' understanding of electoral processes; perception of impartiality of voting officers; perception of whether the poll was free and fair.

The IEC said the poll was intended to assist it to improve its operations and to learn from best practice from this year's experience to prepare for future elections.

A similar Exit Poll was conducted by the HSRC and Markinor during the 2004 General Elections to assess voter participation and perspectives on elections.

The poll also helped the IEC to understand voter patterns and deal with the challenges ahead.

Last year, the IEC conducted a survey to assess voter readiness and eagerness to participate in the 2009 elections.

IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Adv Pansy Tlakula said: "from this survey, valuable lessons were gained by the IEC in terms of general preparations for each election, voter attitudes and perspectives on electoral democracy in South Africa in general.

"This exit poll is intended to continue to put the IEC on the trajectory of continuous improvement in terms of election processes," she said. -