Home South African IEC to announce election results on Sunday, June 2. This is why

IEC to announce election results on Sunday, June 2. This is why

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The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it will announce the election results on Sunday, June 2. This is the first time the IEC will announce the results on a Sunday, as election results have traditionally been released on a Saturday

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THE ELECTORAL Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it will announce the election results on Sunday, June 2. This is the first time the IEC will announce the results on a Sunday, as election results have been traditionally released on a Saturday.

IEC deputy chief electoral commissioner Masego Sheburi made the announcement during an elections workshop with the SA National Editors’ Forum in Rosebank on Wednesday.

Sheburi said this was due to a number of reasons, including the fact that there would be at least 50% more ballots than in previous elections due to a third ballot being introduced to accommodate independent candidates running for the first time in the national and provincial elections.

He said it was possible that the commission could still announce the results on Saturday if all counting and any arising disputes were finalised, but this was unlikely. Objections had to be lodged with the IEC, by Friday, May 31, latest.

“There will be a 50% increase in the number of ballots because of the extra ballots and there will be 52 parties on the national ballot this year,” said Sheburi.

He noted that in the previous elections, some of the bigger municipalities were the last to finalise their votes due to the fact that they were bigger.

“We think it is better to do a proper job and delay by a day, but if we are able to do everything, we will announce on the Saturday,” he said.

Sheburi said the extra day was not being introduced to “rig votes”, adding that 90% of the vote count would be finalised within 24 hours of votes being cast on May 29.

He said the final 10% of the votes required an extra day, not because the IEC could not count, but because this was when attempts at vote rigging typically took place and required the commission to take a closer forensic look at such results.

“The final 10% (of the vote count) takes 24 hours to resolve, not because people can’t count, but because that is where there was concerted effort to subvert the will of the people.

“People want to manufacture reasons to change the results slip and they don’t give us the original results slip,” he said, explaining that any changes to results slips had to be accompanied with the original results slip with sound reasons about the changes made.

Sheburi said that during the 2016 municipal elections there had been an incident where officials and party agents made changes to results slips, but when they could not justify the changes made, they staged a protest at the voting results centre in protest.

Sheburi said the protest was a farce to create a distraction for dodgy electoral processes at the station level.

The Results Operation Centre for the May 29 elections will be at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg.

He said votes at voting stations had to be counted where they were cast and, in conjunction with the presiding officers and party agents, the results slip from each voting station would be communicated to the IEC for capturing.

He said in cases of emergencies, such as natural disasters or possible violence, the IEC could authorise votes to be counted outside of the voting station, but such a process would be closely monitored and controlled.

DOUBLE COLUMN BALLOT

Sheburi also explained that due to the number of political parties and independents contesting the elections, there would be a security-sensitive double column ballot, instead of the normal single column ballot that most South Africans have become accustomed to since the first elections in 1994.

He said although voter research showed voters preferred a single ballot column, the IEC had opted for the double column ballot due to the fact that there were only two service providers available to administer the single ballot column, but both did not have the security features required.

This is what the ballot looked like during the last elections in 2019. The new ballot will be a double column ballot. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

HOW THE BALLOT LOOKS

Sheburi explained that after conducting voter research, the IEC learnt and has decided to include the full name of a political party or independent candidate, the abbreviation of the party, the logo of the political party and the face of the leader of the political party.

This is how the new double column ballot will look for the 2024 elections.

Touching on the drama involving the MK Party – where the party had attempted to put former president Jacob Zuma on the ballot, despite the party leader registered with the IEC being Jabulani Khumalo, the IEC said this was resolved when the MK Party informed them in a letter that the party leader was now effectively Zuma and no longer Khumalo.

“We said we can only put the registered leader of the party. We know now that the party has changed its leadership,” said Sheburi.

NO MORE CHANGES TO THE BALLOT

Meanwhile, the IEC has stressed that it has concluded with the ballot and has shipped ballots abroad already. IEC officials said no more changes could be made to the ballot or the lists, and in the case of deaths or expulsions, those would have to be amended after the elections.

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