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Sunday, 26 May 2024 14:55

IEC declares it is ready to administer the special votes on 27 and 28 May 2024.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says that it is ready to administer the special votes expected to be cast on 27 May and Tuesday, 28 May 2024.

Domestic special votes are for those who are either infirm or have impaired mobility who will be visited by the IEC at their or home or place of confinement and also for those who wish to cast their vote early as they may not be able to access their voting station on general Election Day on 29 May 2024.

At a media briefing on Sunday, IEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Masego Sheburi, said more than 1.6 million South Africans have been approved to vote during the special votes.

Some 624 593 voters are expected be visited by IEC staff with the rest expected to visit their voting stations.

"We are encouraged by the number of special votes received which indicates the enthusiasm with which the South African population has for these elections," he said.

Special votes will be administered in the presence of representatives of contestants and observers where those are available. However, people are only allowed into homes at the direction of the homeowner.

"Voters are reminded to have their identity documents handy in order to confirm their participation in these elections. After a voter casts their ballot, they will be handed two envelopes. They insert their marked ballots into an unmarked envelope, which in turn is inserted into a bigger envelope which has the details of the voter.

"The purpose of the envelopes is to ensure that we can verify that only persons who have been approved to vote by special vote have voted but also to ensure the secrecy of the vote by delinking the vote from the voter," he said.

For those who will be going to voting stations, those stations will be open between 9am and 5pm with only those approved for special votes allowed to make their mark.

Following the two days of special voting, the ballots still within in their double envelopes, will be transported for safe storage until 29 May 2024 where they will be verified and reintroduced for counting.

Sheburi also said the commission has prepared for persons with disabilities to 'vote in conditions of relative dignity and without disclosing their choice to anyone”.

"Working together with the South African National Council for the Blind [SANCB], we have developed a voting aid, the Universal Ballot Template for persons who can read braille they can be able to vote without disclosing their choice of candidate or party.

"For those with unsteady hand, they will be able to use the Universal Ballot Template to also make their mark without disclosing their choice or relying on companions for assistance."