Parties want audit as double-voting suspicions grow

09 May 2019 - 14:11 By AMIL UMRAW
Political parties have asked the IEC to conduct a sample audit in voting districts where double-voting was suspected.
Political parties have asked the IEC to conduct a sample audit in voting districts where double-voting was suspected.

Political parties have asked the Electoral Commission to conduct a sample audit at various voting districts in which double-voting was suspected.

In a meeting between the party liaison committee and the IEC on Thursday, political parties raised concerns about the number of cases reported to them where people were able to vote on more than one occasion.

The problem is somewhat related to the IEC's indelible ink, which has been shown in some cases to easily rub off. That makes it possible for people to vote more than once, as the scanners the IEC uses are not interlinked and cannot detect attempts at duplicate voting.

One of the suggestions posed to the IEC at the committee meeting was for sample audits to be conducted to determine the extent of the problem.

The DA's James Selfe said his party knew of about 200 cases in which this had occurred.

Voters and politicians have said the indelible ink placed on the left thumbs of voters could easily be removed using cleaning products. IEC officials have said it is possible to vote more than once but doubts it would influence the election outcome.

"Our starting point was that we want a 100% audit because if it happened in the 200 or so cases we know about it, it could have happened in 20,000 cases. We are very concerned about it but we equally appreciate it is possibly impractical to do it in that way because it might take months," he said.

"There's a possibility of violence breaking out, there's a possibility of investor uncertainty. We are prepared to go along with a sample audit. It will identify if is it an isolated problem, if it is just the 200 we heard about, or if it is a much more pernicious problem."

Provincial co-ordinator for the Good party, Sam Shabane, said they had also raised issues about voters receiving double ballots.

"We also supported the motion that a sample from a particular area or a ward must be taken and an investigation must take place. It will help us to move forward in terms of understanding how deep this has gone," he said. "Now it is no longer in the hands of the management administration; it has to go to the IEC so they also need to come on board."

The committee will meet again at 3pm on Thursday when the IEC is expected to convey some sort of feedback on the issues that were raised.   

UDM treasurer Thandi Nontenja said the party was concerned about the "lack of control measures in place".

"When we raised this matter to say what are the control measures besides the ink, the IEC wasn't forthcoming with answers, they were mumbling," she said.

"What irritated us is that they asked that parties come up with the names of people who double voted and the district they voted in."