As millions of South Africans continue to make their way to various voting stations across the country to cast their votes, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has reminded voters not to get overwhelmed by excitement and end up on the wrong side of the law.
“Voters are reminded that it is prohibited to take a photograph or “selfie” of their marked ballot paper. This is essential to protect the secrecy and integrity of their vote and the process,” said the IEC on Wednesday.
It encouraged those who have voted to instead share pictures of their marked thumbs on social media.
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director General Donald Liphoko also echoed this message.
“Voting is a right and responsibility for all South African citizens. Let us be responsible and refrain from taking pictures of marked ballot papers. The rules of the IEC prohibit this as it compromises the secrecy of the ballots,” said Liphoko.
He said he was encouraged to see South Africa’s democracy at work with people, both young and old, braving the cold weather to vote for their preferred candidates.
Rules at voting stations
The IEC said it has received some reports of isolated cases where voters had been stopped from entering voting stations by election staff because they were wearing political party clothing and regalia.
The commission said wearing of such clothing by voters is allowed.
“It is only prohibited for party agents and candidates to wear party clothing inside a voting station. This information is made clear in a “dos and don’ts” poster provided to each voting station.
“Any voter who is prevented from entering a voting station due to their clothing should immediately report this to the contact centre on 0800 11 8000 or to the Area Manager for that voting station. The cell phone numbers for the Area Managers are posted at each voting station,” said the commission.
Voters must have their identity documents (IDs) with them and are reminded that each ballot paper must be stamped on the reverse. Unstamped ballots will not be counted. Voters must vote only where they are registered.
The commission said voters, who are at the voting station or in a queue when stations close at 7pm, will be allowed to vote.
Voters can only vote at the voting station where they are registered.
“They can check their voting station details by dialling *120*432# or SMS their ID number to 32810. The contact centre on 0800 11 8000 is also open until 9pm tonight to assist voters,” said the commission.
Allowing workers to vote
The commission also reminded all employers, especially those in the agriculture, retail, transport, mining and other sectors that operate continuously, that Wednesday has been declared a public holiday in order to allow all South Africans the opportunity to vote.
“It is illegal to prevent any voter from exercising their right to vote,” said the commission.
Before sunrise this morning, thousands of voters flocked to voting stations in many parts of the country. There are 26.3 million voters on the national voters’ roll. – SAnews.gov.za