Elections 2014Local newsNews

SA voter turnout was fair

JOBURG - South Africa’s voter turnout in this year's general elections fared well compared to the rest of the world.

The Independent Electoral Commission said it was pleased with the country’s voter turnout, which was 73.32 percent.

According to IEC chairwoman, Pansy Tlakula, the 2014 election recorded the highest number of registered voters in South African history with 25.3 million voters.

Tlakula noted “extremely high” voter turnout in urban areas.

In previous general and presidential elections, South Africa outdid developed nations such as the United Kingdom (65.1 percent), France (71.2 percent), Finland (67.5 percent) and Spain (68.9 percent).

Prof. Daryl Glaser, head of political studies at Wits said the voter turnout was reasonable.

Compared to international standards, it indicated that South Africa’s voter turnout wasn’t abnormally good or bad, he said, adding that the country’s voter turnout was higher than the United States, but lower than some European countries.

However, the voter turnout also indicated that a significant number of people did not register to vote, he said.

Electoral officials in Gauteng also noted a low turnout of young voters.

Of 1.9 million voters aged 18-19, only one in three was registered to vote.

Across the province the born-free generation appeared largely absent from the first election in which they were old enough to vote.

However, Glaser said this was a widespread trend across the world, adding that generally people tended to become politically interested in their 20s.

He said it was expected that this trend would be different in South Africa due to the country’s past of young people being strongly active in political activities.

Glaser said young people had become apathetic and cynical towards politics, adding that they needed to be inspired and engaged by dynamic leaders, which required more effort from the political regime.

He noted that Economic Freedom Front leader Julius Malema had provided some vigour to South African politics, sparking interest from the country’s youth.

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