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Dos and don’ts during the elections

Ensure you are not guilty of these offences during the elections which may get you fined or even land you in jail.

Many voters are unaware of the repercussions that one could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years for committing offences and actions against regulations related to voting.

With the elections looming, it is important to know your rights as a citizen, before Voting Day or at and after making your cross on the ballot paper.

It is an electoral offence to force anybody to do the following:

– vote or not vote in an election;
– support or not support a political party or candidate;
– vote or not vote for a political party or a candidate;
– attend or not attend a political party or the rally of a political party; and
– interfere with the fairness or independence of the Electoral Commission or any officer of the commission.

What does this list of offences mean for you practically?

Before Voting Day:
– Do not prevent a political event or rally from being held when you do not have the right to do so.
– Do not damage or remove political posters, billboards or placards – this is not allowed from the date that an election is proclaimed (announced) until the election results have been given out by the Electoral Commission.
– Do not use the voters’ roll or election materials for purposes other than the elections.

On Voting Day:
– Do note vote at an election where you are not supposed to vote
– Do not try to vote at a voting station where you are not registered to vote
– Do not try to vote more than once in an election
– Do not pretend to be one of the following: An official of the Electoral Commission, a representative of a political party, a candidate in an election, an accredited (qualified) observer or an accredited (qualified) voter education official.
– Do not prevent someone from speaking to other voters
– Do not interfere with a voter’s right to secrecy when he or she is voting – hence the regulation about no photos or selfies of marked ballots.

In general:

– Do not bribe or influence an official of the Electoral Commission while they are doing their duty
– Do not misinform the Electoral Commission when you are asked to provide a statement
– Do not publish false information that may create anger or fear and change the election results
– Do not give information about voting or the counting of votes when you are not allowed to
– Do not interfere with any voting material
– Do not make, produce or supply election materials when by law you are not allowed to
– Do not remove, hide or destroy election materials when by law you are not allowed to.

If you commit electoral fraud, you may be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years.

What should you do if you suspect that electoral fraud has taken place?

In terms of section 78 of the Municipal Electoral Act, the Electoral Court has jurisdiction in respect of all electoral disputes and complaints about infringements of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

If you suspect that a party or a candidate has breached the Electoral Code of Conduct, you need to report the incident to the Electoral Court. The Secretary of the Court can be contacted on 051 412 7400.

Find the Electoral Court’s rules regulating electoral disputes and complaints about infringements of the Electoral Code of Conduct and rules regulating the conduct of the proceedings of the Electoral Court at www.elections.org.za.

Do you have more information about the story?

Please send us an email to bennittb@rekord.co.za or phone us on 083 625 4114.

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