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IEC has new devices to detect possible double voting

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The Electoral Commission said on Tuesday that the voter management devices replacing zip-zip machines would go a long way to tackle the perception of possible double voting.

IEC chairperson of the board Glen Mashinini. File picture

THE ELECTORAL Commission of South Africa (IEC) said on Tuesday that the new voter management devices replacing zip-zip machines would go a long way to tackle the perception of possible double voting.

“The commission is pleased to report that as we took delivery of the 1,000 unit voter management devices, we hope this is to go a long way to ameliorate the perception of possible double voting because we now have devises to be in a position to detect anything and prevent it in time,” chairperson of the board Glen Mashinini said.

Mashinini made the comment during an IEC briefing of the National Assembly committee on home affairs on the annual report and financial statements for 2019/20.

He said their presentation gave them and the committee time to reflect on some of the successes and also the challenges in the 2019 general elections.

“It is also time for us to see how to further enhance our systems, controls and performance as part of continuous improvement in the delivery of elections.”

Mashinini said one of the main achievements accomplished by the IEC and the country in 2019 was the delivery of free and fair elections.

He said the elections were held with an “outstanding” 26.6 million voters on the voters roll, 78 political parties that contested the elections and 570,000 special vote.

“We enjoyed the lowest percentage of spoilt ballots since 1998 when 1.27% was recorded as opposed to 1.29% in 2014.

“We enjoyed the highest 45.25% of women elected to the National Assembly, which is a major development in our country.”

Mashinini said they continued to make improvements in their processes as they enhanced accessibility and participation in the elections.

The election satisfaction survey results showed that 68% of the voters took less than 15 minutes to reach voting stations from their residences and the average waiting to vote was 16 minutes.

“The survey showed high level of confidence of fairness, 95% voter satisfaction, 96% voiced general satisfaction in the quality of service rendered.”

The IEC delivered 144 by-elections within all legislative prescripts, 44 by-elections more than 2018/19.

The average length taken to fill ward vacancy was 81 days.

There were by-elections for 500 proportional representation replacements during the year in review.

Mashinini said there were some challenges that were experienced.

“Despite recording new record on voters roll, the commission noted a decline in voter turn-out,” he said, adding that the 66% represented the lowest yet recorded in general elections in the country.

“This is an area we continue to say we need to work together to improve and strengthen.”

He also said they saw concerns raised on the possibility of double voting despite the isolated cases that were detected by the election officers.

“Rapid spread of alleged double voting posed a significant risk to the overall credibility of elections. The commission was pleased that the investigations showed no evidence of voters being able to vote more than once,” he said.

“This was supported by our statistician-general who conducted statistical analysis we shared with political parties and stakeholders,” Mashinini added.

He said the procurement of voter management devices would ameliorate the perception of double voting.

Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the devices would certainly be available before the next voter registration weekend of July 17 and 18.