IEC set to launch new devices to rectify voters’ roll

By Athenkosi Sawutana

New voter registration devices are on the cards, said Tumi Sethoba, spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).  This after the Constitutional Court ordered the commission to rectify the voters’ roll after voters’ addresses were found missing. 

According to Sethoba, the new devices will allow for the electronic registration of voters, including address information. They will also have GPS and mapping technology built-in so that a voter can pinpoint the location of their residence when registering.

“The new devices are scheduled to be delivered later this year and will be available for registration activities ahead of national elections in 2019,” said Sethoba.

The devices will replace the old zip-zip machines which merely linked a voter to a voting district by scanning their ID barcode. This is one of the reasons the voters’ addresses were not captured.

Sethoba said that prior to December 2003, the law did not require an address for each voter on the voters’ roll. Therefore the addresses for voters who registered before then were not always captured.

Sethoba admitted that after 2003, the IEC was the one at fault as many registration forms were not legible and misplaced or damaged over time.

She added that many voters, especially in rural areas and informal settlements, do not always have formal addresses.

In 2016, the CounCourt gave the IEC until the end of June to rectify the voter’s roll. However, the organisation has asked for an extension until 29 November 2019.

 “In its application, the Electoral Commission noted that it would not be in a position to fully comply with the court order by 30 June 2018. Noting that despite all its efforts, addresses were still not available for over 1 million voters on the voters’ roll,” said Sethoba.

According to her, the ConCourt will hold a hearing on this application to hear arguments from the commission and other parties which may be opposed to the application on 29 August.

Sethoba concluded that the IEC will continue to pursue its various initiatives to update and rectify the voters’ roll during this period. If the IEC fails to rectify the roll, more than 1 million voters will be removed from it as this does not comply with the standards set by the ConCourt.

In the meantime, voters can visit the IEC offices, MyIEC portal or mobile app to update their details.

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