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Smooth Voting Process: Second Day of Special Voting Concludes in South Africa

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South Africa
South Africa

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa expressed satisfaction with the progress of special voting on its second day, with 937,144 voters processed by Tuesday afternoon.

Briefing the media on Tuesday evening, IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said the number of special voters was higher compared to the previous election. The 107 voting stations in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, which could not open on Monday, were operational by Tuesday.

Mamabolo said that all systems were ready for the May 29 general elections, where more than 26 million voters are set to cast their votes. “The lessons and experiences over the two days of special votes were valuable and will be used to further refine operations to positively impact voter experience tomorrow, May 29, 2024,” he said.

The special voting, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, is designed to accommodate voters who may not be able to visit polling stations on the actual voting day, including those who work, are sick, elderly, disabled or pregnant. Over 1.6 million people registered for special voting over these two days.

According to the IEC, 624,593 voters were scheduled to cast their ballots at home with the assistance of 62,000 officials during this period.

In Florida, Johannesburg, many voting stations, including the Future Nation School voting center, were bustling with activity as voters arrived intermittently.

Nomfesane Maga, 59, was one of the voters visited at home by IEC officials due to her confinement. “I’m glad I could vote; I couldn’t do so in the 2021 local government election. My failing health prevented me from going to a polling station on voting day,” she said.

She voted at home alongside her daughter, Khanya Maga. “We were able to apply for special voting as I didn’t want to struggle to take my mom to the polling stations. I’m happy we voted together,” Khanya said.

Election observer and former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan commended the IEC for introducing special voting. “The special voting accommodates everybody, including the sick, as they go to their homes,” Jonathan said.

With good weather expected on the main voting day, the IEC anticipates a strong turnout from registered voters on Wednesday. The network of 23,292 voting stations will be open for voting from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The IEC emphasized that eligible voters present at the voting stations by 9 p.m. will be allowed to vote and will not be turned away.

“We reiterate that voters must vote where they are registered. The general rule in elections is that a person votes at the voting station where they are registered. The only exception is if a voter notifies the Chief Electoral Officer in advance,” Mamabolo added.

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