‘So far so good’ – IEC on expats voting

South Africans living abroad have begun casting their votes, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said on Wednesday.

“It began last night [Tuesday] in Amsterdam and New Zealand,” said spokesperson Kate Bapela. “Today, it is continuing in all parts of the world.”

Voting was running smoothly.

“So far so good. We have not received any contradictory reports so things are going well.”

Voting stations opened at different times in different parts of the world, she said.

More than 26 400 people had successfully applied to cast their ballots abroad. London had the highest number of expatriate voters at 9 863, followed by Dubai with 1 539 registered voters.

General elections in South Africa will take place on May 7.

AfriForum dismayed by voting numbers
Meanwhile, AfriForum on Tuesday said it was dismayed by the number of international voting stations available for South Africans living overseas.

“It is disappointing that there are so few voting stations abroad, especially in large countries like Australia, the [US], and Canada,” deputy head of AfriForum Alana Bailey said in a statement.

She said the organisation believed that distances, time and costs would deter “many” people from voting.

“We however also have sympathy with the fact that every additional voting station brings about a huge financial burden.”

The organisation said it would therefore look ahead to the 2018 elections and continue discussions with the IEC to try and find alternatives, such as electronic votes, which could be implemented for expatriates in the future. – Sapa

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