Voters ‘vanish’ ahead of election

2016-04-21 06:00

A VAST amount of irked Kouga residents, some of whom lived at the same residential address and voted at the same station for years, are disgruntled after their information disappeared from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) system.

Not even a Member of Parliament and mayoral candidate, nor councillors were spared from ‘vanishing’ ahead of the upcoming Municipal Election on August 3.

After an SMS went out from the IEC to about 5 million voters requesting them to update their address information, they became concerned about their status on the voters’ roll.

This state of panic increased after Glen Mashinini, Chairperson of the IEC, warned that more than two-thirds of the voters’ roll stand to be disenfranchised due to the absence of sufficient address information.

Reports were received from voting stations across Kouga that voters’ addresses had indeed disappeared off the voters’ roll, despite some voters having lived at the same address and having voted at the same voting station for many years.

Other voters discovered that, despite having registered during the first registration weekend, they were still not on the voters’ roll when they checked during the second weekend.

A Jeffreys Bay voter says her husband received a message from the IEC saying that they do not have his address.

“When he went to check his information during the recent voters’ registration weekend, I decided to verify my details as well. Much to my surprise, I was ‘missing’ from their system - despite having voted before.”

Another voter says during the March voter registration weekend, everything was in order when he verified his details. “When I decided to re-check my information, my address had vanished.”

Other complainants, some who had voted in the same area for over 26 years, say they had to re-register after either vanishing from the voters’ roll or due to incorrect information.

Democratic Alliance (DA) mayoral candidate and Member of Parliament, Elza van Lingen, as well as DA candidates Brenton Williams and Hatting Bornman, were affected.

All of them had to re-register as their addresses had been lost from the voters’ roll.

“If you did not register during the registration weekends, you can still visit the IEC office in Humansdorp until the election date is promulgated,” says Van Lingen.

According to Van Lingen, they are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the matter currently before the Constitutional Court to provide the necessary clarity of the voters’ roll and the question whether voters’ addresses have to be on the voters’ roll.

According to the IEC, more than 6.6 million voters visited their voting station over the two registration weekends. Of those who visited voting stations over the two weekends 20.73% were new registrations, 33.74% re-registered in a different voting district and 45.53% re-registered in the same voting district.

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