Undecided voter? Click to your tick

If you are looking to find out more about your favourite political party, the Internet can be a great resource.

On the home page of the African Christian Democratic Party website, Dr Kenneth Meshoe smiles down on a humble blue box that says the ACDP stands for Christian principles, family values and an open-market economy.

The ACDP does an admirable job with its website. Though it lacks the finesse of the offerings from the African National Congress, the Independent Democrats and the Democratic Alliance, the simple layout is effective and the site is easy to navigate.

It provides policies and up-to-date campaign information and is regularly updated. You can also view a list of candidates and download election posters and bumper stickers.

The ANC has by far the most extensive site. It not only covers voter issues and party information but also provides access to various ANC publications and sister sites.

You can also visit pages dedicated to ANC struggle heroes. The design is attractive and uncluttered.

Smaller, but equally well designed, is the DA site. It’s informative and easy to navigate and one can have hours of yellow-and-blue democratic fun. It lacks the downloads and extras that other parties provide but it does give you the option to “shop from the DA” for DA clothing and office accessories, which include a yellow stressball for R13.

The ID website is striking and takes advantage, like JohnKerry.com, of the Internet as a forum for campaigning. One is greeted by a well laid-out screen in orange and white, and the ID’s election manifesto is immediately obvious. It is also easy to navigate and has plenty of information.

The ID site definitely promotes interaction between the public and politicians; the site not only invites you to “SMS Patricia” but to “invite Patricia to dinner” too.

The Azanian People’s Organisation’s website is by far the most aesthetically pleasing, using the clenched fist logo and black/yellow colour scheme effectively.

All the essential information is provided, albeit briefly. You can also opt to view an abridged version of its manifesto or access articles on the history of black consciousness.

The Inkatha Freedom Party site’s home page is a bit of an aesthetic nightmare.

However, one can find the manifesto, policies, candidate lists and other election essentials, and a good archive of press releases and speeches. IFP downloads include pledge cards to fight against crime.

The Pan Africanist Congress website just doesn’t cut it. The layout is garish and outdated and it simply doesn’t work. Click on the “contact us” button and the election manifesto will promptly appear. In fact none of the 14 buttons on the screen work — except to give you the manifesto.

The Organisation Party (Big Bad Boring Brad’s party) seems aimed to provide you with various pictures of the reality TV star Brad, as well as a lengthy list of offences he would like to see people hanged for.

Websites for all the parties contesting the election and more links and comprehensive coverage, including an interactive guide, can be found on the Mail & Guardian Online‘s election page.

The Independent Electoral Commission page is not as user-friendly but does provide the nitty-gritty on registration and voting.

Simone Haysom

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