SA can lead Africa into digitised elections - Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy

2019-05-10 16:38
Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan. (AFP)

The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa's (EISA) observation mission for the elections, led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, believes that South Africa should pave the way for the full digitisation of elections in Africa.

Delivering EISA's preliminary observations on the elections, Jonathan recommended that centralised digital voting registers were the answer to multiple voting concerns.

The recommendation came after at least 20 people were arrested in connection with allegations that they had voted more than once. The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) on Friday said there was no evidence of double voting. 

Answering questions from the media, Jonathan said South Africa should consider fully digitising the elections.

Despite fears of the manipulation of a fully electronic system, Jonathan said it would still solve many of the irregularities in elections, such as issues with ballot boxes, ballot papers and double voting.

Read more: No evidence of double voting, says IEC

"But there are always fears that countries like America can hack in and manipulate data. That is a major factor, but I believe we can get over that," Jonathan said.

"Whether we like it or not, the world is going digital."

Jonathan added that South Africa should be the country that leads the rest of Africa in a digital direction.

Election day

EISA visited 295 voting stations across the country, finding that the day was largely peaceful, with the exception of a handful of service delivery protests. However, he noted that the IEC and law enforcement officials tried to contain the protests in a timely manner.

He also said voting stations were observed closing while voters were still in the queue.

WATCH: Catch our editors and analysts breaking down the election results

Despite several reports of irregularities, including the issue of the removal of indelible ink used to mark voters' thumbs and allegations of double voters, the observers found that there was no unusual increase in voter turnout.


Apart from the digital voting register, Jonathan also recommended that adequate mechanisms for the management of voting stations be put into place to ensure that the number of people voting at each station is easily manageable.

Lastly, EISA also recommended that awareness be raised about the procedures for special voting applications.

Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections. Make sure your News24 app is updated to access all our elections coverage in one place.

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