Congratulations to everyone who managed to brave the rain and the cold to cast their vote on Wednesday. However, some chancers might have been able to get away with breaking the law on Election Day, by voting more than once: However, the opportunities have presented themselves on a plate.
The IEC was forced into an embarrassing admission earlier this evening when they conceded that there were flaws in both their ink-marking system and ID scanning machines.
Election ink kicks up a stink
We covered the ink topic earlier in the day, but as we crawled towards sunset, more and more people were reporting that their thumbs – covered with an indelible ink mark – had seen their coloured line fade. This is problematic, as two clear thumbs would suggests you haven’t yet voted when, in reality, it gives you a chance to vote again.
Exactly, the IEC chair said that scanner isn’t connected to any national database, it’s station based therefore people can vote multiple times if they remove that ink https://t.co/DGnbM4503C
— Msukwini (@Ta_Fitty) May 8, 2019
“Flawed” scanners system used on Election Day
That was just the tip of an iceberg for what has the potential to become a titanic issue. The scanners only “serve to facilitate voting at local stations”, according to one IEC officer. This year, voters can cast their ballot anywhere rather than just at their registered centre – an oversight that has caused all sorts of issues:
IEC Chief Electoral Officer, St Mamabolo doesn't confirm it's not impossible to double vote. “The zip-zip machine is not connected to any live network. It operates as a local machine to facilitate voting at a particular stations." #SAElections2019 #SABCNews
— Sipho King K Kekana (@KingKAzania) May 8, 2019
Meanwhile, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had his own theory on the chaos:
ID Smart Card vs Bar Coded ID. So if the ink is removed in one’s thumb as reported at IEC briefing, chances are that people can vote many times because a smart card won’t allow IEC stamp as it used to be in the Bar Coded ID. A calculated move ? Ink ! Ink! Who supplied it?
— Bantu Holomisa (@BantuHolomisa) May 8, 2019
Double-voting and “non-counted votes” possible
The scanners’ job is to effectively count your vote. If it fails to do so – as numerous South Africans claimed on Wednesday – that means you’ve gone through the process of voting without actually registering a vote.
These are the two main systems that are designed to uphold the security of the elections, and us as voters. With glaring holes and multiple problems being reported across Mzansi over the past 24 hours – including Tuesday’s special voters – our integrity as the electorate has been severely compromised.
Not the best Election Day at the office for the IEC
The consequences could be dire for the IEC, who have somewhat been beleaguered by other issues on Election Day. As EWN report, major political parties have also lodged complaints with the Commission over security matters.
A lack of ballot papers and the failure to get all voting stations up and running have also been the subject of intense scrutiny: Both problems have effectively denied some voters their right to vote, which is in violation of the South African Constitution. It’s unlikely – but not impossible – that the IEC will grant a second voting day this week.