Elections 2024: Voting turnout predicted to be higher than in 2019

While some glitches were reported during today’s elections, the IEC says that most problems were ironed out and voters exercised patience despite often long queues.

Indications are that today’s voter turnout will be ‘well beyond’ the 66% recorded in the 2019 national elections, said Sy Mamabolo, the CEO of the Electoral Commission at a media briefing at 19:00.

He said the IEC remains committed to achieving the highest turnout possible and assured the nation that voters in the queue at 21:00, when voting stations close, will not be turned away. However, he said that a second day of elections would not be considered.

Mamabola said that according to the Electoral Act, the IEC has seven days to announce the results, but explained that it is difficult to estimate when the first results will come in. Previously, he said, the first results trickled in after five hours. However, with three ballot papers and the predicted higher voter turnout, he said the process might take slightly longer.

With two hours of voting left when the briefing started, Mamabolo said ‘we are experiencing a late surge’ of voters. “[We] are processing a large number of voters in certain areas, particularly the metropolitan areas in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KZN and Eastern Cape.”

Mamabolo reported that most glitches reported at voting stations had been overcome, ‘allowing electoral officials to service voters timeously’.

One of the biggest problems seems to have been voting management devices (VMD) that were not working due to connectivity problems. Mamabolo said that while VMDs play an important part in the voting process, they are not a legal requirement for voting. The voters’ roll is a legal requirement and voting stations that struggled with VMDs reverted to the voters’ roll, said Mamabolo.

Despite the IEC having procured 34 000 lights, power outages in some areas, including Soshanguve in Gauteng, saw voters making their mark by the light of their phone torches.

On the question of some voting stations having three ballot boxes and others only one, Mamabolo said three boxes were preferred, but only because it makes the counting process easier.

“Once the counting processes have been completed, the commission will start a process to remove all voting material – ballot boxes, used ballots, to storage facilities. This process will be handled with utmost care.

“However, should members of the public spot electoral material, they are urged not to touch them but to report the matter to the police.”

Counting process

Mamabolo said that a ‘new category of staff who will support the presiding officer with the counting effort’ has been instituted to improve the quality of the counting and the completion of result slips. “The recruitment criteria for these staff was slightly different from the rest as high levels of numeracy are mandatory. Three such staff were appointed for each voting station and each sub-station where we operate a voting centre.”

He explained that ballots will be counted at the voting station where they were cast and said the process will start as soon as voting ends. “Party agents, independent candidate agents, and observers monitor the entire counting and results process and are present at all times.”

The results for the various parties or candidates will be reconciled against the number of ballots received and the total number of ballots cast at that voting station, he said.

Results slips will be signed by the presiding officer, independent candidate agents and party agents. A copy of the results slip will be posted on the door of each voting station, Mamabolo said. “The other copy is transported to the local Electoral Commission office where it is scanned and captured in the results system. The results are also verified by independent external auditors.”

Watch the full briefing:

Read original story on www.citizen.co.za

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