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Friday, 31 May 2024 11:39

Voters found 2024 polls to be free and fair — HSRC survey

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Elections Satisfaction Survey (ESS) conducted by Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) shows that voters overwhelmingly believe that the 2024 National and Provincial Elections were free and fair with the voting public showing trust in the IEC.

However, it further shows concerning results among those who self-reported coercion in their vote.

"A key response in narrating their view that the elections were free and fair was the view that there was freedom to make political choices without force, pressure or intimidation," HSRC research director and coordinator Dr Benjamin Roberts told journalists on Friday morning, at the national results centre in Midrand.

Roberts was sharing the findings of the HSRC's election satisfaction survey (ESS) on Friday morning. In the ESS, voters were asked a series of questions about the election process on election day, including whether the 2024 polls were free and fair. The HSRC, in its ESS, surveyed people who had already cast their ballot, and did not survey those who left the queue before voting.

The HSRC said the ESS had a margin of 1%.

Roberts said 73% of voters who responded to the ESS survey, decided to vote in these elections more than six months ago. He added that only 6% decided to vote in the last month, and 4% on the day of the elections.

According to Roberts, 63% of voters voted because they felt their vote makes a difference, while 43% of people voted because they felt it was their responsibility.

Additionally, 37% of voters voted in order to fight corruption in the country, while 38% of people voted in order to improve the economy.

Only 26% of voters voted because they liked a particular leader or candidate.

The survey explored a number of themes including satisfaction with IEC officials, ballot papers, voter education, and self-reported coercion to name a few.

On self-reported coercion, 73% said it had no bearing on their electoral choice, 25% said it did and 2% said they were uncertain. This translated into 3% of all voters who changed their vote.

"Since the 2016 election, we have seen the reporting of the self-reporting of coercion increasing over time, it particularly jumped higher in 2019 and 2024 so it is something that we really have to watch out for, just to say that it is happening predominately before election day in households, in communities that forms of pressure, but it is something that we do need to worry about because it is translating into 3% of change relative to what they might have voted for on election day," Roberts added.

Watch Live in the video below:

Video Courtesy of IECSA.