Mon. May 20th, 2019

Elections 2019: Why 9-million eligible voters did not register to cast their ballot

2019 elections voting south africa how to voteCurrent issues that affect their lives was indicated as a reason why they are not voting.

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The 2019 general elections are less than 24 hours away and right now, there is little else political parties can do to sway voters at the polls. However, the outcome of the elections could be impacted by the non-participation of at least 9-million eligible voters who are not casting their ballot on Wednesday.

A report published by Business Tech indicated that this was a drop in participation, compared to 2014’s general election.

RelatedOver 700 000 new voters registered ahead of South Africa’s 2019 election

Youth dominates total of disinterested voters

Although the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) achieved the most successful registration period, seeing an increased 26.7-million voters pledging their intentions to cast a ballot on Election Day, 2019 also saw an increase in the number of eligible voters, which stands at 35.9-million.

It is not surprising then, that about 6-million of these eligible voters fall below the age of 30. Young voters’ participation in the election has been a persistent issue for the IEC.

Even their themed campaign for this year’s election was targeted at attracting the young voter. However, it is not as simple as chalking the millennial’s disinterest in casting the ballot to their level of interest in politics.

RelatedElections 2019: IEC registers record voters’ roll since 1994

Why are eligible voters not taking part in the elections?

In their report, GroundUp found that issues related to housing, employment, access to education and equal opportunities lent themselves as one of the main reasons why young, eligible voters are not registered to vote.

Furthermore, the distrust in leading political parties like the ANC, DA and EFF, was another reason. President Cyril Ramaphosa has been very vocal about the need to spur the youth into participating at the polls.

RelatedSurvey shows voter trust lies with ANC, DA slumps behind EFF

The two leading opposition parties have also centred their key messaging around youth participation.

The red berets, in particular, have made strides in garnering support in colleges and tertiaries around the country.

However, in the end, the premise of South Africa’s new dawn will rest upon the 26.7-million voters who have registered to cast their ballot.

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