Universal Ballot Template widens access to democracy

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Electoral Commission (IEC) says the Universal Ballot Template, a voting aid designed to empower persons with disabilities and special needs, will help this section of the population to exercise their democratic right independently and with the utmost secrecy.

This, according to the Commission, was developed in collaboration with the South African National Council for the Blind.

Speaking at the launch of the National Result Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand on Wednesday, the Electoral Commission Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, said on 27 and 28 May, the Commission will accept Special Votes from the 1 668 076 South Africans who were approved for this category of votes.

“The Commission will visit 624 593 voters at their homes or places of confinement, and 1 043 483 will be assisted at voting stations where they are registered,” he said.

Mamabolo said in addition to trained staff, agents from political parties and independent candidates, as well as accredited observers will be present when the special votes are cast.

“As we embark on this momentous journey, we find inspiration in the unwavering commitment of our staff, who will be present at all 23 303 voting stations, diligently attending to the needs of those unable to visit the stations, ensuring a seamless and inclusive voting experience for all,” Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said the appointment of 202 500 voting officials, including a new category of staff dedicated to enhancing the counting quality, underscores the Commission’s resolute dedication to upholding the integrity of the electoral process.

“The Commission takes immense pride in announcing the completion of ballot printing and delivery of over 90 million ballots meticulously prepared for this historic occasion.

“Voters will be presented with three ballot papers: The National Compensatory Ballot for political parties, the Provincial Ballot, and the Regional Ballot for parties and independent candidates. We remind all voters of the sacred principle, 'One ballot, One Mark'," Mamabolo said.

According to Mamabolo, provinces with the most approved special votes for both home visits and voting station visits are Gauteng (335 480), KwaZulu-Natal (320 010), Eastern Cape (286 059), Limpopo (159 800), Western Cape (137 558), North West (132 627), Mpumalanga (126,112), Free State (86,908), and Northern Cape (83,504).

“It is important to point out that in addition to our trained staff, agents from political parties and independent candidates, as well as accredited observers, will be present when the special votes are cast,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za