The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) has expressed confidence that the last voter registration weekend before the November 1 local government elections will see more people register to cast their ballots.
THE ELECTORAL Commission of SA (IEC) has expressed confidence that the last voter registration weekend before the November 1 local government elections will see more people register to cast their ballots.
IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said by noon on Saturday 104,000 voters had registered and another 10,000 on its online portal despite technical difficulties experienced by its new voter management devices (VMDs).
“There is great interest by people and it will be sustained over today (Saturday), Sunday and Monday,” he said.
Voters will be allowed to also use the online registration system, which is open beyond the 5pm closing time of voting stations, until it closes at midnight on Monday.
Mamabolo also addressed concern about technical problems experienced by its VMDs, being used for the first time on a mass scale during the current registration weekend.
The VMDs replaced the ID scanning device, also known as the zip-zip machine.
Mamabolo expressed his happiness with the IEC’s new technology, the VMDs, which he maintained was working well despite some teething problems experienced in the first two hours after the voting stations were opened yesterday.
“We picked up a technical problem in the voter management devices, which are being used on a large scale this weekend. The commission took a conscious decision to bring down the online system in order to resolve a mapping functionality problem.”
According to Mamabolo, the downtime did not stop the registration process and that this was by design.
“It has always been part of the plan that should we experience any online difficulties then we will be in a position to operate off-line,” he said.
Mamabolo said that while operating in an off-line mode, the VMDs continued to capture voters’ registration details and captured a total of 48,089.
“When we deal with online systems they have their own types of vagaries which you can never predict 100%, which is why in building our system we made it possible (for it) to function online and off-line precisely because the vagaries that are inherent in an online ecosystem are such that there are things that cannot be predictable.”
On Thursday, the IEC warned disgruntled communities and political party members against disrupting the voter registration weekend.
It said that it was working with the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure and held a priority committee meeting to identify hotspots for SAPS to provide the necessary security.
“Everybody should not be interrupted, if you are about any other process, be it from a political party or from the municipality or any matter, it does not grant you the right to disrupt the registration process,” Mamabolo warned.
He also pleaded with communities countrywide, informing them that the voter registration weekend was not one to be disrupted.
However, his pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears in some communities as 53 of the 23,151 voting stations did not open on time.
“This was in the main due to service delivery protests by communities seeking to use the registration weekend to draw attention to their issues.
“In almost all the incidents, the commission, working with the police and local leaders, was able to resolve the problems and registration continued or is in the process of establishing operations,” Mamabolo promised.
– Political Bureau