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Electronic voting proposed in electoral law changes

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Sep 8, 2020


Johannesburg - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is advocating a few changes to the country’s electoral laws which include the possible introduction of electronic voting.

If the proposed laws are passed, South Africans on the international segment of the voters roll who are eligible to cast their votes at embassies or consulates won’t be required to submit an additional notice to a chief electoral officer of their intention to vote abroad.

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The proposed amendments are contained in the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, which Motsoaledi intends to introduce to Parliament.

He wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo last week, notifying them of his intention to introduce the bill ahead of next year’s local government elections.

“Most of the amendments proposed by this bill relate to normal operations related to elections. For this reason, the financial implications thereof have already been taken into account,” Motsoaledi said.

Last month, the Cabinet said the amendments would introduce innovations in electoral practices to keep up with the best practices, so as to improve the IEC’s efficiency in managing elections.

In terms of the bill, the Electoral Act will be amended to provide the IEC time to prescribe for different voting methods or procedures, such as electronic voting.

The bill also aims to amend the Electoral Commission Act to authorise the IEC to streamline and regulate the application procedure for registration of parties intending to contest municipal elections in a particular municipality.

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The amendment will also allow for the registration of parties wishing to contest elections at metropolitan and district municipalities. Motsoaledi said the procedure included objections for the registration of parties and appeal processes.

Those who are unhappy with a decision of not registering a party may within 30 days appeal against it. This also applies to any person who objected to an application where a party was registered.

The bill also plans to amend the act for the provision of the voters’ roll or a segment of it that includes addresses of voters to political parties and independent candidates on payment of a certain fee to the chief electoral officer who may, however, refuse or retract certain personal information of a voter where necessary.

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