IEC boosts voters' address database

SA elections. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
SA elections. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Pretoria - The Electoral Commission has boosted its address database of registered voters by more than 30 percentage points.

It comes after the 2016 landmark Constitutional Court ruling which found that IEC had failed to meet its obligations in collecting and maintaining addresses for registered voters since December 2003.

Since then the IEC has managed to increase their database of complete addresses from 43% to 73%.

READ: IEC to brief media on progress with getting addresses for voters' roll

Addressing the media on Wednesday in Pretoria, Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo said the IEC now has around 19 million addresses registered of just under 26 million registered voters.

Additionally, there were still about three million voters who did not have an address and around four million voters who have incomplete addresses.

Challenge

Mamabolo said this was a challenge that they were working on.

To date the IEC has reduced the proportion of incomplete or generic addresses from 43% to 15%.

And it has reduced the percentage of registered voters without any recorded addresses from 32% to 11%.

"The credibility of elections hinges on the accuracy of the voter's roll. By providing their addresses, voters are helping to ensure the credibility of the voters' roll and thereby the freeness and fairness of future elections.

"The absence of addresses remains a critical risk to the integrity of elections,'' said Mamabolo.

He said while much progress has been made, they remained highly conscious that a larger undertaking remains in order to meet the timeframe provided by the Constitutional Court.

The court ordered that the addresses of voters must be accurate and maintained so that the voters could cast their vote in the correct ward and voting district.

This would also allow political parties to gather the information to campaign freely.

In addressing this challenge, the IEC launched an online address campaign where registered voters can provide, update or confirm their address details.

For those without internet access, officials have been physically collecting addresses.

Voters were also encouraged to update their details during municipal bi-elections and the 2016 municipal elections, said IEC vice chairperson Terry Tselane.

The IEC is also collaborating with stakeholders in the public and private sector including municipalities and StatsSA to obtain mutually beneficial information.

For those without formal addresses, the IEC has created a new form for registered voters, who can use a written description of the location of their dwelling.

Mamabolo said the Treasury has given the IEC R180m toward the harvesting of addresses in the next fiscal year as the IEC begins its preparations for the 2019 general election.

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