The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is preparing to launch new management voting devices that will be used for the 2021 Local Government Elections later this year.
The system will replace the old “zip zip” device and will prevent a multiple voting phenomenon.
The system is dubbed a game-changer within the commission’s registration framework. In the 2019 national elections, there were allegations of voters who were able to cast more than one vote at the polls. Officials say the new online system will ensure that such incidents do not occur.
It will allow them to capture voters’ addresses and verify them against their respective wards.
“It’s an important development within our registration framework. The voter management devices will do a number of business processes in one transaction, Firstly, we will scan the ID and take the names of the voter. We will also capture the address at the point of interaction. On election day, the voter management device will be operating online to check if the person has voted elsewhere, and it will minimise the allegations of people having voted twice in the election. It’s an innovation that will try increasing the perceived integrity of the process,” CEO of the IEC, Sy Mamabolo, says.
IEC budget cut by R35 million
The IEC’s budget has been slashed by a whopping R35 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mamabolo believes this won’t affect the work of the commission.
“We have had to adjust our projects, some of which had to be curtailed because of the budget cuts. But we’ve done so without negating the scope of the functions that must be performed. So there won’t be any function that won’t be performed owing to budget cuts, what has been curtailed is the depth and scale of operations rather than functions not being attended to at all,” he adds.
Due to the budget constraints, Mamabolo says the commission will hold only one voter registration weekend as opposed to the usual two.
“We confirm that there will be one voter registration weekend ahead of the elections. The commission is considering dates for that. As soon as decisions are made as to one that will be, public announcements will be made. It’s going to be important for potential voters to use the voter registration weekend correctly. By that I mean to take advantage of voting stations will be opened as close as possible to where people live, in communities, there will be no need to use public transport to travel to a voting station,” he says.
Meanwhile, by-elections will be held in 15 municipal wards in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape and Western Cape, tomorrow. The polls are the first instalment of by-elections this year as the Electoral Commission attempts to cover its backlog caused by COVID-19 restrictions over the past year.
They will be held under strict new COVID-19 protocols.
Mamabolo says everything is in place.
“We are comfortable that everything that had to be done in preparations of the by-elections tomorrow has been done what is awaited now is for the voters to come along and register their political choices personal protective equipment for staff has already been delivered ballot papers are on sight the training has happened voting stations have been secured and its all systems go so we should give people in those 15 affected wards a good electoral experience tomorrow,” he says.
IEC urges voters to adhere to all COVID-19 regulations during by-elections: