It didn’t take long before concerns about the secrecy of votes were raised after the 2016 local government elections Special Voting commenced on Monday morning. However, Independent Electoral Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer, Mosotho Moepya, has allayed fears that ballot could be traced back to the voters.
As per the Independent Electoral Commission’s Special Voting processes, two envelopes are used to capture ballots of voters who applied for Special Votes.
While one envelope, into which the ballots are put, does not bear the voters’ details on them, those envelopes are then put into the second envelopes which bear details of the voters.
This has raised questions about the extent to which one’s vote is a secret as set out by the commission.
SABC Digital News took this up with the IEC Chief Electoral Officer to get clarity on the matter.
Moepya says, “How the process works is that at the end of the day, when we look at the voters that have cast the special votes and we look at reconciling them to the list of special voting applications, we will then be able to indicate that these are the persons that we have dealt with.”
Moepya explains after the voters’ names have been captured, it is the smaller unmarked envelope that is then put into the ballot box.
“So there is no connection that can be made between the voter and the ballot.”
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Meanwhile, the IEC says there have been a few delays to the start of the Special Vote in the Local government election.
In a media briefing, Moepya said among the less serious incidents which had delayed the start of Special Voting in a handful of areas around the country included heavy overnight rains in the Eastern Cape which had made some voting stations inaccessible and had affected other voting stations using temporary infrastructure such as tents.
Some electoral staff vehicles were still stuck in mud in Elliotdale on Monday and were being towed out by tractors.
In Vuwani in Limpopo, voting stations did not open on Monday after the Electoral Commission on Sunday decided to postpone special voting until Tuesday, due to the small number of applications received in these areas. Only 32 special vote applications had been received.
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