Photocopied ballot papers among election hiccups

2014-05-07 19:02

An Independent Electoral Commission official who was found in possession of ballot papers that were cast during special voting will have to explain why he had the ballot papers in his possession.

IEC chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya said the commission was looking into why the ballot papers were not kept at the voting station at which they were cast.

Voting was also disrupted at a polling station in Alexandra, Joburg, when members of two political parties clashed and the voting station had to be shut down temporarily.

“We tried to resolve the dispute but we were not successful,” said Moepya.

He said the IEC had received 260 complaints related to minor incidents and 250 of these complaints had been resolved.

In another incident a voting station allegedly resorted to photocopying ballot papers after it ran out of the ballots during voting. IEC deputy chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said the incident, if found to be true, would be a violation of the law.

The commission said political parties would have an opportunity to “object” to these ballot papers during counting, which begins tonight.

IEC deputy chairperson Terry Tselane said: “The photocopies will be deemed invalid during voting.”

The commission said although voting proceeded smoothly, a number of community protests halted voting. The latest a station opened was at 2:15pm.

IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula said many of the problems were as a result of voters choosing to vote in districts in which they were not registered.

This caused many polling stations to have an “extremely high” voter turnout, which resulted in some stations running out of ballot papers – and long queues.

Tlakula said they would allow all voting stations to continue operating after the 9pm cut-off time, as long as there were still voters standing in queues.

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