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SA probably not ready for electronic voting, says political analyst

10 May 2019 4:48 PM
Melanie Verwoerd says problems experienced during election 2019 are not so major that they'll lead to a distortion of the result.

Out of the 48 parties contesting the 2019 elections, 35 are set to challenge the result as not free and fair because of problems such as ink inconsistencies and alleged double voting.

Asked what lessons the Independent Electoral Directorate (IEC) can take away from this, political analyst Melanie Verwoerd points out that problems will occur during an election, even if it does generally run smoothly.

We have to acknowledge that problems with elections happen all the time.

Melanie Verwoerd, Political analyst

We had 26-million people registered, about 65% would have come to vote, that is an enormous amount of people in a very, very big country. Things are going to go wrong.

Melanie Verwoerd, Political analyst

She stresses that where election problems become important is if they result in a distortion of the result, which is not the case at the moment.

I don't think we're seeing that at all.

Melanie Verwoerd, Political analyst

She says the audit the IEC is carrying out will clarify whether there were just a few anomalies or if there is a bigger problem.

It often happens at this time of an election that especially smaller parties complain and also bigger parties if they start to lose dramatically, that they start blaming the IEC or the process.

Melanie Verwoerd, Political analyst

Verwoerd says the calls for an electronic voting system are not realistic at this point for South Africa.

Using Kenya as an example, she also points out that going digital brings its own set of problems.

A Kenyan observer made the point that everything that went wrong in the last election in Kenya - there were big disputes - was related directly to electronic voting.

Melanie Verwoerd, Political analyst

My guess is, we're not ready for that.

Melanie Verwoerd, Political analyst

For more from Verwoerd, click on the link below:


10 May 2019 4:48 PM