IEC promises to sort out Western Cape ballot paper shortages

08 May 2019 - 21:20 By Andisiwe Makinana
Alan Winde DA premier candidate in the Western Cape casts his vote.
Alan Winde DA premier candidate in the Western Cape casts his vote.
Image: Esa Alexander

The Electoral Commission in the Western Cape has acknowledged the shortage of ballot papers in voting stations in Cape Town, and said it was addressing the matter.

IEC provincial head Courtney Sampson attributed the shortage to voters voting at stations where they were not registered. This meant ballot papers had to move around and follow the voters.

“At the moment, our greatest challenge is the moving around of ballot papers to voting stations where they are running low and running out,” he said.

But, he added, ballot papers were being distributed to all the stations that had complained about theirs running out.

He was adamant that no voter had been turned away, and those who may have left may have done so out of frustration - and he hoped they would return later. Voters can cast ballots at other stations as long as they are registered to vote and have their ID documents.

“The other challenge is the VIC4, the application form for voting at a voting station where you are not registered ... As South Africans we can feel exceptionally proud of compatriots who are out there under difficult circumstances, many of them doing wonderful work,” he said.

Sampson explained that from reports they were getting, the rain was affecting people “a little bit” in terms of where they vote. He said instead of people going to voting stations where they ought to vote, people were going to go to the closest voting station because they didn’t want to get wet.

Turning to voter turnout, Sampson said at about 4pm that it looked reasonable, and that it may pick up later. 

“I think a lot depends on whether the rain is going to increase or whether the rain is going to soften down a little bit or end completely. So we will keep an eye on that.”

The joint operations centre was active, he said, revealing that he had had talks with disaster management and the City of Cape Town security personnel who were looking at areas where it would be necessary to bring out extra lighting.

“The most important thing, it seems, will be to make sure we have sufficient light in order to manage what needs to be managed especially the paperwork when it gets a little bit darker,” he added.