Woman, 102, 'refused special vote'

2011-05-19 13:19

Grahamstown - A 102-year-old artist Dorothy "Dimmie" Randell had to climb the steps to the Rhodes theatre polling station to vote in the local government elections in Grahamstown after the Independent Electoral Commission refused to let her cast a special vote at home.

The Daily Dispatch reported on Thursday that Randell had to be assisted by Makana Independent New Deal (Mind) candidate Jock McConnachie as she made her way up the steps to the polling station at the theatre.

McConnachie is standing as a Mind candidate councillor in nearby Ward 8.

McConnachie told the Dispatch that the IEC had not allowed Randell to cast a special vote at her home as she now resided just outside the ward in which she was registered.

He said this was "ridiculous" and "nonsensical".

"Some boundaries have changed. How on earth could the IEC expect that a 102-year-old woman should know she had to go and register in a different ward," he asked.

'Very tiring'

While Randell said she found the entire process "very tiring", she was pleased that she had been able to vote.

The East London-born Randell was Rhodes University’s first-ever Fine Art graduate and went on to become a famous painter and sculptor.

Randall was not the only elderly voter to be turned away.

Community activist Mary Knowling, 87, well-known for her community spirit and acts of kindness was almost turned away from the Rhodes theatre.

The IEC had split the polling station’s roll alphabetically and those whose surnames began with A to M had to vote 100m away at the nearby Rhodes Great Hall.

Knowling, who had already walked all the way from her nearby home, leaned heavily on her crutch and charmed IEC staff into allowing her to vote at the theatre.

"I am not trundling up that hill," she said.

Rhodes campus which, for the first time has been demarcated as a stand-alone municipal ward, is being fought by all political parties and independent candidates.

ANC candidate and well-known historian Jeff Peires said the ward results would be too close to call, but he feared that people would still vote along "racial lines".

The African National Congress finished third in this area in the last general election, behind the Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People.

  • Smaal - 2011-05-19 13:23

    I guess everyone know what I'm thinking.

      Kevin King - 2011-05-19 13:31

      Yip, I also made a certain assumption before opening this story. I had a 20% chance of being right and low and behold, spot on!

      Monde - 2011-05-19 13:34

      hahaha, there had to be something...

  • Susannomore - 2011-05-19 13:30

    So, who do you report the IEC to? At least she got to vote, but it must have been a very tiring experiance for her.

  • Wayne - 2011-05-19 13:34

    Her name isn't Mandela and she's probably voting DA so she's a nothing in their eyes.

      Winzist - 2011-05-19 14:10


  • static - 2011-05-19 13:35

    we should never neglect the elderly, charming story but it just reminds me of the late mom and brought some sadness in my heart

  • Inki - 2011-05-19 13:37


  • Monde - 2011-05-19 13:39

    at least enlighten us as to why she was refused the special vote, only then can one criticize!

  • Neutral-brow - 2011-05-19 13:44

    she voted for AVC

  • Neutral-brow - 2011-05-19 13:45

    she voted for ANC

  • Ockert - 2011-05-19 13:48

    What is amazing is the counts of some the municipalities -- it will appear if you look at was counted, and what the figures were during the 2005 elections that some places (how it's possible) have doubled in size (number of voters - there are several smaller muni's - where this is actually impossible - Sasolburg - unless 30, 50 thousand have been resettled here)and the counts not completed yet.

      liesl - 2011-05-19 13:53

      I think there was a higher voter turnout than is normal for local elections.

  • Matt - 2011-05-19 14:07

    Thabo Mbeki can get a special vote but this poor old woman couldn't?!

  • Barry - 2011-05-19 14:48

    Her name is not Mandela

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