IEC unveils election plan

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Johannesburg – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday unveiled an elaborate election plan that includes a voter registration campaign to attract as many South Africans as possible to participate in next year’s general elections.

The IEC has set aside Saturday, 9 November and Sunday, 10 November for a nationwide voter registration weekend. More than two million people will be targeted during that period.

The commission today also unveiled the official National and Provincial Election Logo at an event in Midrand. The logo is blue and white in colour, with the words ‘I X SA (I vote SA)’ inserted in four blocks and ‘20 years of Democracy’ at the bottom. Officials said the logo was inspired by the country’s 20 years of democracy.

“We were trying to figure out what kind of reasons the people were giving for participating in the electoral process. What was common in those responses was that South Africans are excited about being South African,” said campaign head Dr Nomsa Masuku.

While the date for the elections has not been proclaimed yet, chairperson Pansy Tlakula said the IEC will pull out all the stops to ensure as many South Africans as possible cast their votes next year.

The Constitution dictates that elections should be held within 90 days from the date of the last elections. This means the 2014 elections will be held anytime between May and June.

Next year’s poll will be significant for several reasons. It will be South Africa’s fifth general elections since the landmark poll of 1994 and will coincide with the government-led 20 years of freedom celebrations.

More than three million new voters will also be casting their ballot for the first time in the election. 

“We are preparing ourselves for an exceptionally high voter turnout. South Africans have repeatedly shown us that they will rise to the occasion and we are confident that the opportunity of the coming elections will be no different,” Tlakula said.

25 million voters targeted

Currently, the voters’ roll contains just over 23 million names and the IEC is targeting 25 million South Africans to vote in next year’s election, the largest since 1994.

According to statistics available on the IEC website, the largest number of registered voters on the voters’ roll is between the ages of 30 and 39, representing more than five million people. This group is followed by those aged between 20 and 29, representing over 4.5 million registered voters. There are less than 200 000 registered voters in the younger ages of 18 and 19, a number Tlakula said the IEC wants to increase.  

Tlakula said the registration weekend can also be used by registered voters as an opportunity to inspect their details on the voters’ roll.  Voters who have changed their physical addresses since their last registration were also called on to register in their new voting districts.

“We make a special call on young people, especially those who will be eligible to register to vote for the first time, to show up in your numbers on the registration weekend.”

Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya said the voters’ roll remains critical to the credibility of the country’s elections. It is being updated every month against the national population register.

“Since the voters’ roll was compiled, the IEC has managed to increase enrolment by 21.3 percent. This is a net increase after taking into account those voters who are on the rejected portion of the voters’ roll,” Moepya said. – 

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