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Sunday, 26 May 2024 12:21

IEC urges voters to carefully review and mark each of three ballot papers correctly.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is preparing for an increased voter turnout on Wednesday for the most closely contested general elections since 1994.

As South Africa holds its seventh democratic elections this week, voters will for the first time receive three ballot papers instead of two ballots.

The Commission has urged voters to carefully review and mark each of these three ballot papers before depositing them into the ballot box.

"Our appeal to voters is to remember that they can only put one mark on each ballot, more than one mark will result in a spoiled vote and not counted.

"The Universal Ballot Template (UBT), whose dimensions are benchmarked against the longest ballot paper will be available in all voting stations. The UBT can be used by blind and partially sighted people, low-vision users, people who are dyslexic, and people with motor and neuron conditions which do not allow for a steady hand," IEC Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sy Mamabolo said.

South Africans will go to the polls on 29 May 2024 to vote for leaders in government for the seventh administration.

The 27.79 million registered voters will receive three ballot papers to elect candidates to represent them in the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures.

The use of the three ballots follows the amendment of the Electoral Act, which was signed into law in April 2023.

"This amendment revised the electoral system to allow independent candidates to contest in the regional (province-to-national) tier of the National Assembly and the Provincial Legislatures."

"Although the phenomenon of three ballots will be familiar to voters in various local municipalities, it will be new to voters in metropolitan areas and for the first time in general elections for national and provinces," Mamabolo said.

The three ballot papers are as follows:

  • The national ballot: This ballot will consist of a list of political parties vying for seats for 200 seats in the National Assembly. This ballot will be used to vote for political parties. There are currently 52 parties who will be on this ballot and the configuration will be a dual column.
  • The regional or province-to-national ballots: This will have political parties and independent candidates contesting for the seats reserved for each province in the National Assembly. Voters will use this ballot to elect a political party or an independent candidate to represent them in the National Assembly. The number of contestants range from 30 to 44 on regional ballots. The configuration of this ballot is single column.
  • The provincial ballots: This ballot is unique to each province and includes parties and independent candidates competing for seats in each respective provincial legislature. This ballot will allow voters to choose either a political party or an independent candidate to represent them in provincial legislatures. The number of contestants range from 24 to 45 on the provincial legislatures ballots.

There are a total of 400 contested seats in the National Assembly. The proportional representation compensatory 200 seats will be contested by political parties only and there is a dedicated ballot paper for this tier of the National Assembly.