Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

SA’s voter turnout “lowest ever”: Here’s how it compares to other countries

VOTER TURNOUT SOUTH AFRICABlame it on rain or a lack of inspiration, but the latest voter turnout figures are the lowest in South Africa’s democratic history. Here’s how we rank globally.

sas voter turnout lowest ever heres how it compares to other countries 1024x683 - SA’s voter turnout “lowest ever”: Here’s how it compares to other countries

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As the major and minor parties battle it out to secure their seats in Parliament, it would appear that there was another big player present this week: Apathy. Millions of registered South Africans have decided against voting this year, with less than two-thirds of those eligible making the trip to the ballot box.

As it stands, just 65.34% of the electorate voted on Wednesday. This would be the lowest recorded percentage in South African history, and a whopping 8% less than what was recorded in 2014.

A lot has changed in five years: Tell that to the ANC, who have shed hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised voters since the last general election. Current projections suggest that they will end up with 5% less of the vote this time around, but they’re set to hold on to their majority in government.

Voter turnout in South Africa since 1994

  • Voter turnout in 1999: 88%
  • Voter turnout in 2004: 76%
  • Voter turnout in 2009: 77.3%
  • Voter turnout in 2014: 73.48%
  • Voter turnout in 2019: 65.34%

More than 26 million voters were able to vote this year, but almost 10 million unperturbed souls have opted out. Current predicts suggest that the final number of voters will be between 16 – 17 million.

Could voter fatigue have set in already? In 25 years of democracy, numerous new dawns have failed to materialise. Around half of South Africans still live in poverty, and unemployment levels are amongst the worst in the world.

Voter turnout: South Africa vs the rest of the world

However, if we compare voter turnout to the rest of the planet, even our worst offering is better than what some other nations offered during their last elections:

(Data supplies from each country’s official voting figures)

  • France: 67.93%.
  • Germany: 69.1%.
  • Nigeria: 37.1%.
  • South Africa: 65.34%.
  • United Kingdom: 68.7%.
  • United States of America: 61.4%.
bf3c6e8d voter turnout - SA’s voter turnout “lowest ever”: Here’s how it compares to other countries
A visual representation of voter turnout in each country.

When will we know the final results of the South African elections?

As of 17:45 on Thursday, there were still 45% of the votes left to tally-up. The IEC expects have 90% of the vote accounted for by 21:00 this evening, but remained coy about when they’d reach completion. The sheer amount of logistical challenges that come with collecting votes in rural communities makes this a difficult task.

When the last vote is officially collected, the IEC will then invoke a seven-day deadline to finalise their results. So official confirmation could even come as late as next week. Of course, we’ll keep you updates with any developments on this matter as and when we receive them.

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