South Africa: IEC KZN Concerned About Low Number of First-Time Voters

Indelible ink applied to the thumb after voting (file photo).

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) in KwaZulu-Natal has raised concerns about the low number of young first-time voters on the KZN voters' roll for the upcoming general elections.

Provincial electoral officer Mawethu Mosery told journalists at a press briefing in Durban on Tuesday that the province's current registration figures show that there are just over 5.3 million registered voters.

Out of these, 1.3 million are between the ages of 18 and 29 years, he said.

They were expecting one million new voters this year, but so far just over 170 000 have registered.

The province's population is about 11.5 million.

"One of our main concerns as the commission is the fact that only 170 578 of registered young people [are] made up of first-time voters. The commission is working with various stakeholders to mobilise this category of young people to register for the coming elections," he said.

Voter registration weekend

He said they were also concerned that of that figure, 60% were women.

Mosery added that they were working with churches, tertiary institutions, schools and the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to encourage first-time voters, especially the youth, to register.

"We are working fairly hard to attract new voters," Mosery said.

In addition, Mosery said they were ready for the voter registration weekend, which takes place on January 26 and 27.

"All 4 886 voting stations throughout the province will be open on both days to assist potential voters to register, re-register, verify their registration status and check or update their address details," said Mosery.

The commission has recruited and trained staff and all materials have been distributed to all voter registration stations, according to Mosery.

"Electronic equipment has also been serviced and prepared for the voter registration weekend."

He said as at the end of December 2018, just over one million of the voters on the province's voters' roll either had incomplete or no addresses.

"Of these, 298 648 voters did not have addresses and 707 682 had incomplete addresses," said Mosery.

The weekend will also be used to register voters for all the upcoming by-elections in the province.

The National Council of Provinces sat this month to adopt the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, which, among other things, enable voters to cast their votes even if their addresses aren't recorded on the voters' roll by the election date.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, the commission has been registering prisoners in correctional facilities across the province.

Source: News24

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