Faulty scanners, delays leave voters frustrated

2019-05-09 15:02
Photo: Archive

Photo: Archive

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Election day got off to a slow start on Wednesday morning as many voting stations in and around Pietermaritzburg had short queues or none at all.

Although several reports indicated that Wednesday was a successful election day, voting did not start off well at Mehlokazulu High School in Imbali as residents had to wait for about 30 minutes for a new scanning machine to be delivered. The one at the station was faulty.

Irate voter Wendy Ndebele said she had arrived at the voting station at 6 am so as to be one of the first in line as she had other commitments yesterday.

“This is just frustrating. The voting officials are also very rude. Instead of telling [us] politely what the problem is, they said if we don’t want to wait, we must go back home. This whole thing has just killed my excitement to vote,” she said.

The voting station’s presiding officer, Ncami Mazibuko, told The Witness that they had only realised at 7 am, when the voting was meant to begin, that their scanners were printing the wrong date. By 7.30 am new scanners had been delivered and all was back on track.

Some Hilton residents also raised concerns about faulty scanners at one of the voting stations in the area. DA ward councillor in the area Craig Miller said they were concerned as they have started seeing a pattern of voting glitches, especially in DA wards. “I don’t want there to be a situation where voters are discouraged. Today is supposed to be a celebration of our democratic right to vote,” he said.

Many other Midlands residents were concerned about there only being one ballot box in which to cast both their national and provincial votes.

Some affected voting stations were at Ashburton, Howick High School, Merrivale and Cleland.

One resident said they were told to squash their provincial and national ballot papers into an already very full ballot box.

In Sweetwaters, at Siyanda High School, residents had to wait over 50 minutes due to delays in the delivery of voting stationery packs. A scanner at the voting station was also faulty. While voting continued, the scanner was only fixed a few hours after voting had started.

An NFP party agent in the area, who declined to be named, said the minor problems were disappointing and discouraging for residents who arrived at the station early to cast their votes. 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  elections 2019

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