Similar party colours and names may confuse voters: Expert

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Three hundred and fifty political parties and a number of independent candidates are registered with Electoral Commission (IEC).

With a substantial number of these parties and independents are expected to participate in this year’s national and provincial elections, there are concerns that some of the parties have logos and even acronyms that are quite similar.

Experts say historical elections commentary suggested that voters have previously confused the political party logos and acronyms, which seemingly garnered votes for parties they didn’t intend to vote for.

With general elections looming, a lofty ballot paper is expected.

Some have similar logos and acronyms. Governance expert from the North West University, Professor Kedibone Phago, gives historical election performances of parties with similar logos.

Phago says, “As far back as 2005 you’d remember that there was a party that was born in Matatiele. The party grew and contested the national ballot. Many commentators believed at that point, part of the reasons the party garnered a significant support than it was expected was because of the manner in which voters might have confused the colours, logo and even the name of the party because the name of the party is African Independent Congress, closer to African National Congress.”

The logo of a newly formed party, Economic Liberators Forum, holds similarities with the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The African Independent National Congress, formed last year, does not only have a similar name to the ANC, but also uses some of the colours of the EFF.

Launch of the new political party African Independent National Congress:

Prof Phago elaborates, “In the North West province, the African Independent National Congress that has a name that is close or similar to that of the ANC but its colours are more towards the EFF may also be a spanner in the works in this regard to continue to confuse the voter during the elections. If a voter is not alert, they may easily vote for the party they did not intend to.”

SABC News tested the ability of a number of Mahikeng residents to identify the logo of the “Economic Freedom Fighters” versus that of new party “Economic Liberators Forum” and their reaction to the results proved the existing confusion.