South Africa Government

05/06/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/06/2019 08:20

Electoral Commission on special voting

Special voting off to slow but steady start

The first votes were cast this morning in South Africa for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections as special voting got underway at 09H00.

Just over 774 000 voters applied for and were granted permission for special votes today and tomorrow both at voting stations (321 676 voters) and through home visits (452 418).

Home visits are provided for those voters who due to physical infirmity, disability or pregnancy cannot visit a voting station. Voting station special votes are granted to all others who are unable to visit their voting station on Election Day 8 May 2019 including election officials, security personnel, party agents and others.

As at 12H00 today no major incidents had been reported and the majority of voting stations were up and running. Among the minor challenges reported by election officials included late delivery of some election materials, last minute pitching of tents and the non-arrival of election staff due to illness.

The Electoral Commission has contingency plans in place for election officials who may be absent on any of the voting days and has back-up materials where necessary.

With an average of only 14 special votes per voting station, special voting provides the perfect opportunity for a 'dress rehearsal' to ensure all logistics, personnel and processes are in place for Election Day.

Voters casting a special vote are reminded of the 'double envelope' process used both to ensure the secrecy of special votes and that only those granted prior approval cast a special vote.

The marked ballot papers are first placed in an unmarked envelope which is then inserted into a second envelope which is marked with the voting station and voter's particulars for verification. The envelope is then placed in the ballot box or bag (home visits).

When these ballots are opened for counting when the voting stations closes on Wednesday 8 May the outer envelope is removed after it has been verified against the list of special votes. Only then is the inner envelope opened and votes added to normal ballots for counting.

Voters are reminded to ensure that both the national and provincial ballot papers they receive have been stamped on the back as unstamped ballots are not counted. The stamping of the back of the ballot papers in front of the voter and party agents is part of the range of security measures used to ensure the integrity of the process.

Other measures include marking the voter's left thumb with indelible ink, and crossing their name off the voters' roll.

Voters are reminded that voting illegally constitutes electoral fraud which is a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Voters are also reminded that those without an address recorded on the voters' roll are required by law to provide an address before being allowed to vote. This follows a ruling of the Constitutional Court and an amendment of the Electoral Act.

For media queries please contact:
Kate Bapela
Cell: 082 600 6386

For media interviews with Electoral Commission officials please email requests to [email protected]