Special votes bring 50% turnout

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The special elections that took place on 6 and 7 May 2019 resulted in about 30 000 actual voters out of 66 000 who had registered in the Free State.
Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) staff, including presiding officers under police supervision, traveled all around the province on home visits on Monday and Tuesday while other votes took place at various voting stations.
According to IEC Communication’s Officer, Mmathabo Rasengane, many registered voters were not available for home visits. “The special voting process went well even though the numbers were not as expected. We found that some people were not at their homes even though we had indicated that we would be making visits while others did not come to voting stations,” she said.
In Mangaung the turnout was even less, according to the spokesperson. “Mangaung stats are not final yet but out of the 20 000 who were expected to cast their votes we had less than 10 000 turning up, which was quite a challenge for us,” explained Rasengane.
Special votes were open for those citizens who were unable to reach a voting station due to physical infirmity, disability, pregnancy or simply not being able to vote on the official Election Day.
Rasengane expressed that some votes may have been exaggerated through the IEC proxy registration system where political parties could assist residents to register and compile voters from an area for the Commission to capture
“During some home visits people expressed that they had not registered for special votes. It could have happened through proxies where political parties or any individual can register on behalf of voters by filling in applications to be captured by us. But when we got there the voter did not know anything. So that kind of influenced the number of applicants,” she said. The IEC, however, stated that special voters who had not voted yet could still vote yesterday. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele
nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za