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By Hein Kaiser


Special voting day 1: Elections off to a brisk start

The first day of special voting saw eligible citizens cast their votes on Monday. Some were even visited at by election officials at home.

Monday marked the first day of two days of casting special votes and according to IEC officials some stations visited by The Citizen, it’s been so far, so good.

“There have been so issues so far,” said an IEC official.

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‘We are ready’

“It’s been seamless and while we expect volumes to pick up as election day approaches, Wednesday is the big one. But we are ready,” she said.

Eligible citizens including the frail and senior citizens were visited at home by election officials to enable them to cast their vote while others joined short but unending queues to make their mark on ballots.

There are three ballots that voters must complete for this election. The compensatory national form is the usual list of parties competing for seats in the National Assembly while the Regional ballot includes independent candidates and political parties in a separately set aside two hundred seats.

ALSO READ: Elections explained: You can’t vote twice and your vote won’t go to the ANC if you don’t vote

This allows individuals to have a fighting chance, albeit that precious few have made themselves available for election and have been less than invisible in terms of campaigning.

Yet, it’s just enough to make the national ballot a double printed, massive piece of paper with the regional ballot a novella that extends well beyond the surface area of voting booths.

The provincial ballot is not as longwinded as the national version, but also contains fewer independents than expected.

Going quickly and smoothly

DA party agent and local ward councillor in Ekurhuleni, Simon Lapping said that business was brisk at the three voting stations within his district.

Together with other party representatives they spent the whole day exercising oversight as well as collecting voters who were unable to get to the voting stations themselves.

Later in the day, the ANC also gathered at some voting stations and while many other parties were still to make an appearance.

MK had representation at a Kempton Park voting station with one of its agents thirty-year-old enthusiasts whose returned home to support former President Zuma after a decade in the United States.

Voters were all smiles, and not just because the queues were short. “This is our chance to really make a difference and get the ANC out for good,” a voter told The Citizen before rushing into the voting station.

ALSO READ: IEC cannot confirm yet if MK party will be charged for alleged break-in

Another voter said that people who are not voting and thinking that it’s a statement of protest, have it all wrong: “They can blame themselves when the NHI comes in and nobody can get to see a doctor for months, and we’ll have them to than for the potholes and the loadshedding which, of course, will be back later this week.”

Other voters were equally as cynical about the incumbent government and, interestingly, it was spread across all races and age groups.

A young woman who accompanied her elderly grandmother to cast her vote said that she has better things to do with her life than to vote, because she’s moving to London anyway later this year while a domestic worker, also present to aid a special voter, said that she wants “the people who keep lying to us” out of government.

She said she thought that ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba is a handsome man and might be trusted.

ANC activist Richard Kgaje told The Citizen that he took time off to go and help the party he still believes in.

Late yesterday other parties started setting up shop at voting stations where The Citizen visited.