This is how the IEC will ensure ballot papers and counting procedures for the May 29 elections

Ballot boxes at Kalkfontein Primary School voting station in Kuilsriver as South Africans head to the polls today to vote in the country's sixth national elections. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/Independent Newspapers

Ballot boxes at Kalkfontein Primary School voting station in Kuilsriver as South Africans head to the polls today to vote in the country's sixth national elections. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/Independent Newspapers

Published May 15, 2024

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By Hope Ntanzi

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has outlined the process that will be administered for the counting of ballot papers once voters have cast their votes on May 29.

The IEC’s chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo emphasised the importance of transparency in the electoral process, stating that the IEC is committed to upholding the democratic principles of fairness and accuracy.

To achieve this, Mamabolo said the counting of votes will occur at each voting station in the presence of political party agents and observers.

“Both voting and counting will happen at the station,’’ he said.

Mamabolo noted that used ballots would only be transported after a result slip has been concluded at the station.

“There will be a result slip after the count which will be present at that voting station,’’ said Mamabolo.

“Party agents and agents of independent candidates can countersign the results slip to confirm the correctness of the count attributed to their party.”

Moreover, he drew close attention to how all interested persons will be allowed to capture a photo of the official result of that voting station, with their phones.

Mamabolo said the uncounted ballots would not be transported from the voting stations to the national results centre at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.

Mamabolo added that the additional ballot papers would ‘burden’ the counting process, hence, the IEC’s decision to introduce counting officers.

He said this will improve the quality of the results slips.

“Previously, you would count two ballots and on this occasion, that effort has to be increased by a factor of 50%.”

‘’The IEC is in the final stages of training just over 200,000 officials who will work at the voting stations,’’ said Mamabolo.

The final election results are expected to be announced on Sunday, June 2.

Mamabolo said with this extension, the commission would have more time to ensure that all votes are counted accurately, disputes are solved, and necessary calculations regarding seat allocations are concluded before the announcement results ceremony.

This weekend, over 75,000 overseas voters are expected to cast their votes around the world. Over 1.6 million South Africans are also expected to cast special votes between May 27 and 29, while a majority of the 27 million eligible voters are expected to vote on May 29.

For the first time, South Africans will be presented with three ballot papers will be used in the national and provincial elections for the first time. The third ballot has been introduced to accommodate independent candidates.

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