Elections 2021: IEC devices experience technical issues during final voter registration weekend

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The IEC's voter management devices experienced technical difficulties on Saturday as the final voter registration weekend kicked off.
The IEC's voter management devices experienced technical difficulties on Saturday as the final voter registration weekend kicked off.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said devices used to capture voter information experienced technical issues on Saturday.
  • The IEC said the problem was linked to a mapping functionality on the new voter management devices (VMDs).
  • It introduced new VMDs and did away with the old devices.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC's) voter management devices (VMDs) experienced technical difficulties on Saturday as the final voter registration weekend kicked off.

The electoral body tweeted that the problem was linked to a mapping functionality. The technical glitch affected manual voter registration at stations open for voters to register. Information was captured manually after the devices went offline.

"Due to current mapping issues, the VMDs will be capturing offline while the system mapping detail issue is being resolved. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused," the IEC tweeted on Saturday morning.

The IEC said the mapping functionality was restored just after 11:00.

The IEC launched new voter management devices, which it said would make the registration process fast and easy and prevent voter fraud.

"The VMDs represent a departure from the erstwhile 'zip-zip' machines, which have been in use in the registration process since 1998. The VMDs will essentially operate in online mode in most parts of the country. In parts of the country where internet connection is not strong or reliable, the VMDs have been provisioned to operate in offline mode," the IEC said in a statement.

READ HERE | Elections 2021: We experienced 'technical glitches', says Ramaphosa on ANC's failure to register candidates

It said in offline mode, the devices would be able to record details and perform verifications based on data stored locally on each device. It would automatically, and without prompting, upload the details stored to the memory of the device as soon as the VMD's signal was restored, said the IEC.

It said at least 23 151 stations will be open for voters to register this weekend for the local government elections on 1 November.

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