Wear what you want when voting – Pansy Tlakula

2014-05-06 08:40

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Voters are allowed to go to voting stations donning political party-branded regalia, electoral commission chairperson Pansy Tlakula has said.

“We have heard in the past that voters are not allowed to wear T-shirts of their political parties. The law doesn’t say that,” she said at the national results operations centre in Pretoria yesterday.

“Voters can wear anything. Imagine if a voter turns up with a T-shirt of a political party then we say to them, ‘go back and dress properly’. How many would we turn back?”

She said only party agents were not allowed to wear T-shirts or other apparel indicating their party affiliation. No other activity, besides voting, was allowed inside the boundary of a voting station.

Political parties are allowed to set up camp in the proximity of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) voting stations and interact with voters.

“Those tables and tents should not impede the access of voters to the voting station. Voters should not be forced to report to those tents,” said Tlakula.

“If a voter is asked to come to a political party tent and doesn’t want to do that, the voter must be left in peace.”

She said parties could still continue to campaign until midnight today.

“No political event shall take place on voting day. Voting day is on Wednesday and special voting days are not defined in law as voting days,” said Tlakula.

“Parties who want to give a final push between now and midnight can still do so.”

Regarding the taking of photographs of ballot papers in the voting booth, Tlakula warned South Africans that the practice was illegal.

“We heard that people, especially young people, want to take photos of their ballots. The law prohibits taking a marked photo of a ballot. No one is allowed to reproduce a photo of a marked ballot,” she said.

“If young people want to post their photos of voting on Facebook, they must take those photos outside the voting stations. We toyed around with the idea of taking cellphones before people enter voting stations but that would be too much.”

South Africa’s fifth national and provincial elections will be held tomorrow.

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