IEC: Successful first day of special votes

Monday, May 27, 2024

The Electoral Commission’s Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Masego Sheburi says he is pleased with the execution of the first day of special votes in the National and Provincial Elections.

Special votes took place on Monday and will continue on Tuesday for qualifying voters. Voting stations for special votes operate from 9am to 5pm.

“As of 2pm today, an estimated 201 794 voting station visits of special votes were processed in 22 626 service points,” Sheburi said, addressing the media at the National Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand, on Monday afternoon.

He said over the two days of special votes, a total of 624 593 voters will be visited by 62 000 officials from the Electoral Commission accompanied by political party agents and observers where they are available.

“The Electoral Commission is happy with the turnout and urges South Africans to continue to go out in their numbers to vote on 29 May 2024,” Sheburi said.

He reminded all those who qualified for special votes that they will only be visited at the given address once.

“If the voter is not present at the given address, they will be able to cast their vote at the voting station where they are registered.

“The commission clarifies that in the instance where a voter has made two transactions, the last will override the first. This is done to protect the integrity of the elections and prevent voters from voting twice,” Sheburi said.

Owing to the commission’s good preparations, the majority of voting stations in the Eastern Cape were opened despite protests which were not related to the elections.

Of the 435 voting stations which experienced problems in the morning, only 107 remain closed due to the external factors. “The commission continues to work with stakeholders to have them open tomorrow,” he said.

Sheburi encouraged all those who applied to cast a special vote at their voting station to do so between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

“Voters are reminded that these are different from the voting hours of 7am to 9pm on Election Day. Voters are reminded to have their identity documents as a requirement for participation.

“After casting votes, the ballots must be inserted in an unmarked envelop which in turn will be inserted in a second envelope with details of the voter. The special voting process is subject to all the security and integrity protocols of normal voting including scrutiny by party agents and observers where present.

“Special votes will be reconciled against the voters’ roll and the list of approved special votes. Additional checks include the use of the double envelope system which allows us to still preserve the secrecy of the voters’ ballot,” Sheburi said.

All special votes collected will be stored securely overnight on 27 and 28 May and will be transported to voting stations on 29 May to be opened, reconciled and added to the ordinary ballots cast on Wednesday before counting begins.

Over 1.6 million South Africans have been approved to vote via special ballots.

With regard to the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, where a group of its supporters allegedly invaded an IEC storage facility and threatened an elections official over the weekend, the commission said it was dealing with the issue seriously.

At a media briefing on Sunday, the commission affirmed its readiness to facilitate the special votes ahead of the national Election Day on Wednesday.

The IEC has assured that the administration of special votes will occur in the presence of contestant representatives and observers where possible, although entry into homes will be at the homeowner’s discretion. –