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High voter turnout ‘a challenge for IEC’

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iol news pic Marikana Voting 994

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Voters came in large numbers in order to cast their vote at Rakgatla High School in Wonderkop, Marikana.

 Pretoria - It has been difficult for the IEC to deal with the high voter turnout, chairwoman Pansy Tlakula said on Wednesday.

“The most pressing challenge we are facing at the moment is an extremely high turnout at voting stations, especially those in urban and metro areas where long queues continue to be experienced at a number of voting stations,” she told reporters at the Electoral Commission of SA's (IEC) results centre in Pretoria.

“It should be remembered that we have the highest number of voters registered in South Africa's history for this national and provincial election - 25.39 million.”

This was about 2.2 million more than those registered in 2009.

Tlakula said although the IEC had increased the number of voting stations by 10 percent, especially in rural areas, it would have to look at increasing voting centres.

“The high turnout at some stations and the long queues are also having an impact on voters seeking to vote at voting stations where they are not registered,” she said.

This was allowed according to the Electoral Act. However, it put pressure on the IEC's planning and logistics.

“We have had reports of some stations requiring additional materials. We are pleased to report that our contingency planning in this regard is holding up well and materials are able to be relatively quickly provided to voting stations where they are needed,” Tlakula said.

There were reports of ballot papers being photocopied at some stations where they had run out.

The IEC denied this, saying there was no shortage of ballot papers.

Deputy chairman Terry Tselane said voters could object if they were given a photocopied ballot paper.

All voting stations that experienced delays earlier in the day were now open. The last voting station opened at 2.50pm in Maruleng in Limpopo.

She said the commission would meet later on Wednesday to assess the situation. - Sapa


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