IEC Limpopo steps up education, registration of first-time voters

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The Electoral Commission (IEC) in Limpopo says it is ready to preside over what it believes will be the biggest elections yet. The Chapter Nine institution launched the 2024 provincial and national elections in Polokwane.

Intensified voter education programmes and calls for first-time voters to register on the voters’ roll have been identified as priorities in the lead-up to the yet-to-be-declared election date.

IEC in Limpopo outlined its plans for next year’s provincial and national elections to stakeholders that include the SABC, with its three Limpopo-based radio stations, the House of Traditional Leaders, and faith-based organisations.

The electoral commission says it is committed to delivering free and fair elections.

Over 3 200 voting stations will be utilised in next year’s election across Limpopo. This is an increase of over 100 in comparison to stations during the 2021 local government election.

Voters are expected to get three ballot papers each for regional, provincial, and national candidates.

Longest ballot papers

With independent candidates expected to contest general elections for the first time, the IEC says it’s ready to print out the longest ballot papers to date.

The IEC Limpopo provincial electoral officer, Nkaro Mateta, says they are committed to ensuring that voters understand the longer ballot paper as well as all that will be required of them by the time elections take place.

“We are really proud that we will also be celebrating 30 years of our democracy, so next year will just be another 1994. I can assure you that here in Limpopo we look forward to 2024, where we will be celebrating 30 years of our democracy.”

IEC chairperson Mosotho Moepya emphasises the IEC’s commitment to ensuring that young people register to vote.

“We have spoken about a voters’ roll that needs young people to engage. I think we are not going to speak about them; we are going to engage them. I think we are not going to speak about them; we are going to engage them, and I want us to engage them at the level that they are; we meet them on social media; we create an opportunity for them to register online; we create an opportunity for them to engage one another in educational endeavors for them to know what we are doing and why it is important that this job doesn’t hurt; take the electoral commission; it requires all of us.”

IEC Commissioner Glen Mashinini takes the opportunity to call for the government to resolve service delivery challenges in order to end voter apathy.

The elephant in the room is that, based on the recent surveys that we have actually conducted, the extent to which elected representatives have acquitted their responsibilities in running the country with regard to service delivery and social economic benefits, the quality of life, and safety have led to a mixed response to those things, and as such, young people have been less trustworthy of all of us in institutions.

Home Affairs officials will be deployed to voting stations for voters to apply for identity documents.