Long queues rather incompetence than higher turnout

Henry

Long queues that could be seen at various polling stations across the country until the early hours of the morning were more a result of incompetence on the part of the Election Commission (ECC) than a greater number of people who went to vote.

This, the DA and FF Plus now say, resulted in many voters turning away discouraged and not casting their votes.

The IEC said during a press conference on Wednesday evening that they saw an “unprecedented increase” in the number of voters yesterday afternoon, and that the percentage of voters who turned up to vote was definitely more than in previous years.

Werner Horn, DA Member of Parliament, says that this is just image manipulation.

“The IEC took far too long to process voters. We know of people who only finished voting this morning at 03:00 (Thursday). Many people pushed through and voted, but there are also many voters for whom it was not possible to wait that long, and they turned around without voting.”

RNews earlier reported that some voters waited up to eight hours to vote.

Horn says a major cause of the problem was the electronic voting devices that did not work properly. “When the IEC informed the centers by 4:00 p.m. that they should put the devices away and use only the printed voter list, it was already too late.”

He says the DA already warned the commission on Monday that if voters are processed at the same rate as with the special votes, there will be trouble.

According to Horn, the fact that there were three ballots this year and more candidates from which voters could choose did not help either.

“Although we realize that these types of problems affect all the parties, it is still very bad that votes were lost like this.”

Wouter Wessels, national spokesperson of the FF Plus, also believes that the OVK has matured hopelessly too late.

“Some of the measures that the commission only introduced late in the afternoon should have applied from the beginning. Some of the officers were also incompetent and untrained.”

He says that rather than an increase in the percentage of voters, as the IEC claims, the FF Plus saw a drop in turnout at some of the polling stations.

Among the other complaints that FF Plus supporters shared with the party was that voters did not appear on lists where they were registered, or only received one or two ballots.

“It’s bad for us because every vote counts. Especially in this election where the outcome is on a knife’s edge.”

He says the party has taken up all these grievances with the IEC. “We will only be able to see later to what extent this could have influenced the result, and decide whether we will submit a formal dispute.”