Ins and outs of Election 2014

It was all systems go for the IEC on Monday when thousands of voting stations opened for a two day special vote run, ahead of the official May 7 provincial and national poll.

The IEC expect all to run smoothly and safely at local polling stations, calling on voters to cast their ballots in an orderly fashion.

The electoral commission refused to release the number of special vote applications in Middelburg following a bungle with the capturing of applicants.

It emerged last week that a total of 166 voters who applied for special voting with the help of the DA, was not captured by Steve Tshwete IEC officials.

IEC Mpumalanga commissioner, Mr Steve Ngwenya, however rushed to Middelburg on Friday after learning about the omitted voters.

Four special applications in eMalahleni were also not captured but rectified alongside the Middelburg 166.

“We will have to wait and see how many of the applicants show up to cast special votes, against the number of applications submitted, which will provide us with accurate statistics of how things went down,” the IEC’s Elvis Ngobo told the Observer.

This did however not deter the IEC to open the 62 voting stations in the Greater Middelburg including those in Mhluzi, Hendrina, Arnot, Doornkop and Pullenshope.

The IEC has asked voters to refrain from taking selfies in the voting booth where no cameras are allowed.

The Independent Electoral Commission rubished rumours of pens with ink that disappear after ten minutes, though voters are welcome to bring their own pens alongside their bar-coded ID books to be able to vote.

Voters must ensure that their ballot papers are stamped at the back, a practice which happens in the presence of the voter at the table where the two ballots, one for the provincial legislature and one for the national assembly, are handed out.

The IEC has also introduced a phone app that voters can download from all major smart phone app stores, in order to search for their voting stations and to access the voters roll, while also having election information like registered parties, candidates lists, elections results, seat calculations and assignment, at their fingertips.

The information can also be accessed easily by the click of the mouse on the search engine of the electoral website –

A record number of parties, 29 altogether, have registered to contest the coming election, spurring the IEC to develop a special new cardboard ballot template to allow visually impaired voters to cast their ballots unaided.

In Mpumalanga, 16 parties have registered for the coming elections for which 107 784 voters have been registered to vote on Wednesday.

Voters can also navigate to for a map of the respective voting stations in and around Middelburg.

Or, simply sms your ID number to 32810 to see where you are registered and where you must vote at a cost of R1 per sms.

Gerhard Rheeder

I have been a journalist for two decades, with numerous awards to my credit, both in photography and writing. A brief stint as researcher in the opposition offices of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, honed my skills as specialist local government reporter, covering crime and courts.
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