4 May 2014

South Africa: IEC Releases Mobile Phone APPs

Photo: Sofia Tosolari/AllAfrica
Standing in line to vote (file photo).

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has released three mobile phone applications (apps) to enhance voter education and information ahead next Wednesday's general elections.

The mobile apps are part of efforts by the IEC to bring voting information to the masses on devices that the majority of people use.

The first set of apps provides information on the elections through mobile devices such as smart cellphones, tablets, iPads and slates.

The information accessible on these mediums includes voter information such as registration status, voting station locations, special votes and out-of-country notifications; election information such as candidates lists, elections results, seat calculations and assignment and general information such as frequently asked questions, contacts, etc.

The mobile app can be downloaded free from all major app stores on Android, BlackBerry, Apple, Windows 8 and Symbian platforms.

Chief Information Officer Libisi Maphanga said voters will also be able to access and follow the 2014 elections results in real-time throughout the capturing process through their mobile devices from anywhere and anytime, from the first result to the last, including the final seat calculation and seat allocation.

"Voters will be able join us and all stakeholders in journey of monitoring the correctness of what is capture and calculate the final results with us."

The second app forms part of the Electoral Commission's education campaign for young voters. The "IXSA" app is a 3D digital game which introduces first-time voters to the voting process in a fun, interactive and innovative way.

The game can be downloaded free from Android and Apple app stores and is also available to play on Facebook. Links to the downloads are available on www.elections.org.za.

The game allows users to pick an avatar and then follow this character on Election Day - facing a number of challenges along the way which educate voters how, when and where to cast their vote. Players earn points for how election-savvy they are and can complete against other South Africans by posting their scores on social media and challenging their friends to beat their score.

Dr Nomsa Masuku, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer: Outreach said the game is about making the voting process accessible to young people in a format they are familiar with - and in their pockets and on the move via their smart phones.

"Learning is best achieved when people are having fun and don't feel like they are being taught. The digital gaming world is the perfect place to combine education and entertainment."

The third set of applications are API's (Application Programming Interface) which gives the media, political parties and all interested stakeholders automated real-time access to elections' data and information using their own apps on any online platform of their choice.-SAnews.gov.za

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