DA assists special voters, IEC should confirm readiness

Andrew Louw MPL

DA Leader in the Northern Cape

The DA is concerned that the IEC will fail to meet its deadline for closure of special votes on Thursday, 17 April 2014.

We spent this morning assisting people with disabilities and the elderly in Galeshewe to apply for special votes. We are worried that the IEC is not able to deal with the volume of special votes that have been requested.

Since applications for special votes opened on 7 April, the DA has been bringing batches of application forms to the IEC’s regional office in Kimberley, where the forms are meant to be processed. However, from the start, the IEC has not had adequate resources in place to deal with the applications. Instead, they only had two capturers and one printer to deal with the masses of special votes being received in the Kimberley area.  As a result, it has taken anything from between 7-10 minutes to process a single application.

The IEC yesterday assigned a third capturer and a second printer to assist with the growing backlog but still the process is moving too slowly, with bottlenecks of up to 10 people waiting at a time to have their batches processed.

On top of this, the IEC is also still in the process of moving from its CBD offices to Schmidtsdrift road. They have not properly unpacked and this is slowing down the process further. This was evident in that no maps were yet up at the regional offices. In turn, it has taken up to an hour at a time, through the use of Google maps, to establish which presiding officer from which voting district will visit which batch of special votes.

The DA is calling on the IEC to urgently allocate additional resources to ensure that the special vote applications are efficiently and effectively handled.

At the same time, the IEC needs to give the DA, and all other political parties, as well as members of the public, the assurance that they will be able to visit every special voter on the 5 and 6 May 2014 to enable these voters to fulfil their right to vote.