Over 71 000 Eastern Cape voters get nod for Special Voting

JULY 21, 2016

The Electoral Commission on Wednesday said that it received over 740 000 applications for special votes in the 2016 Municipal Elections – more than three times the number received in 2011 and nearly twice that received in 2014. Over 71 000 are from the Eastern Cape.

Of the 741 720 applications received, 719 225 were approved. This includes 315 597 (44%) applications for home visits and 403 628 (56%) applications to cast a special vote at the voting station.

Province

Approved Home Visits

Approved Voting Station Visits

Total special votes

Percentage

(Rounded)

Eastern Cape

46 881

24 230

71 111

10

Free State

24 327

31 415

55 742

8

Gauteng

30 121

48 871

78 992

11

KwaZulu-Natal

50 342

29 856

80 198

11

Limpopo

41 052

14 243

55 295

8

Mpumalanga

28 310

174 336

202 646

28 

North West

37 389

29 934

67 323

9

Northern Cape

27 117

29 584

56 701

8

Western Cape

30 058

21 159

51 217

7

Grand Total

315 597

403 628

719 225

100

 

Special votes will be cast on 1 and 2 August 2016. Election officials will visit the addresses provided by voters who applied for home visits at some point over these two days. They will only visit the address once. If the voter is not present, they will not be able to cast a special vote. These voters ought to be home as home visits are reserved for those largely unable to travel.

Those who applied to cast a special vote at their voting station must do so between 8am and 5pm on Monday 1 August or Tuesday 2 August. (Note: These are different from the voting hours of 7am to 7pm on Election Day.)

A voter whose application for a special vote was approved but who for whatever reason was unable to cast a special vote may still cast their ballot at their voting station on Election Day.

The Electoral Commission notes that the increase in applications for special votes is an encouraging sign of significant voter interest in the 2016 Municipal Elections – but is also a reflection of the simplification and accessibility of the application process which for the first time allowed voters to apply online and via SMS.

Over 95 000 (approximately 13%) applications were received online and over 208 000 via SMS (approximately 28%).

Special votes were available for all registered voters including disabled, infirm and pregnant voters as well as members of the security forces, election officials, the media and any other voters who are unable to visit their voting station on Election Day 3 August 2016.

The special voting process is subject to all the same security and integrity protocols of normal voting – including scrutiny by party agents and observers – along with additional checks including a double envelope system which allows the special votes to be reconciled against the voters’ roll and special vote application system but still protects the secrecy of the voter’s ballot.

All special votes collected are stored securely overnight on 1 and 2 August – and are then opened, reconciled and added to the ordinary ballots cast on 3 August before counting begins.