South Africans around the country will take to the polls today as municipal elections get underway. Yesterday night the IEC said it was confident that the elections would run smoothly and that preparations were in place to contribute to a free, fair and peaceful voting process.
“All that remains is for all 26.3 million registered voters to come out and cast their votes,” chairperson Glen Mashinini told reporters. “The 22 612 voting stations are open for voting at 07:00 and close at 19:00. Of course, no voter will be turned away and voters who are at voting stations at 19:00 but have not yet had an opportunity to vote will be allowed to cast their ballots.”
President Jacob Zuma was also given a tour of the IEC’s results centre yesterday. He said he did not believe anything could go wrong and derail the elections. “It is clear that very little will go wrong, everything will go fine. The process is so transparent that everyone has an opportunity to look,” he said at the time.
h3. Special Voters
Special voters had the opportunity to cast their votes during the last two days. A special vote accommodates people who cannot get to their voting station on the day due to a physical condition, or because they will not be in the vicinity of their voting station. The SA Electoral Commission (IEC) received more than 740 000 applications for special votes for this election – more than three times the number received in 2011, and nearly double that received in 2014. Of the 719 225 approved special voters nationwide, 315 597 (44%) were for home visits and 403 628 (56%) were for early votes at polling stations.