Voting abroad wraps up

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pretoria- Overseas voting wrapped up on Thursday with no major incidents reported, said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The last voting station in Los Angeles, US is to close its doors at 6am South African time.

In a statement, the commission said votes cast at the 116 South African missions abroad are being couriered in secure bags back to Election House in Centurion where they will be reconciled against the list of voters who successfully notified the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to vote outside the country.

These ballot papers will then be set aside in ballot boxes and securely stored until local voting stations close and the counting of all ballot papers starts on Election Day on 7 May.

“The votes from all international voting stations will be combined into a single international voting district,” said the IEC.

Final numbers of votes cast abroad will therefore only be known once counting is completed on around 8 May. There were approximately 27 000 voters who had successfully applied to vote overseas,” said the IEC.

Initial reports from the combined Electoral Commission and Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) operations centre were that voting had proceeded smoothly at all missions with no major problems encountered.

Turnout was reported to be high at the two largest stations in London, in the UK where 9 863 voters were expected, and Dubai with 1 539.

With the day where South Africans will participate in the country’s fifth democratic elections fast approaching, the next round of special votes will take place on Monday and Tuesday.

“Special votes takes place on 5 and 6 May when special votes are cast at voting stations between 9am and 5pm and through home visits,” noted the IEC.

On Monday and Tuesday, election officials will visit 295 731 voters in their homes, retirement centres, hospitals and health care facilities and other places of residence throughout the country to allow them to cast their ballots in the national election. Of these 292 510 will also cast a provincial ballot, according to the IEC.

In addition 90 698 voters also successfully applied to cast a special ballot on Monday or Tuesday at the voting station where they are registered. This brings to 386 429 the total number of voters who have been approved to cast a special vote.

Of the 22 263 voting stations, 3 593 have no special vote applications and will therefore not open on Monday and Tuesday.

The voting station with the largest number of special votes is in Keimoes, Northern Cape where 454 voters have successfully applied for special votes, 328 of them through home visits.

A total 1 285 voting stations have just one application for special votes. - SAnews.gov.za

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