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Special voting gets #Elections2016 underway

It is the first time the IEC has received over 700,000 applications for special votes.

IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini casts his special vote. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Special voting has started with the first queues forming at polling stations around the country after a weekend that saw political parties fiercely attacking each other.

The people who have applied and qualified to cast their ballots early are now beginning to make their mark for these elections.

The special vote process will also provide the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) with an opportunity to test its system ahead of the elections on Wednesday.

IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini has cast his special vote at Dainfern College, one of the first commissioners to test the process.

Almost 79,000 Gauteng residents will cast special votes today, with about 30,000 being visited by IEC officials at their homes.

It's the first time the IEC has received over 700,000 applications for special votes, which is three times more than in 2011.

That special voting comes after the various political party campaigns climaxed at the weekend.

President Jacob Zuma used Nelson Mandela's name to launch one last attack on the Democratic Alliance at the African National Congress's big rally in Johannesburg yesterday.

IEC WARNS VOTERS

The IEC has warned those who did not apply not to bother making their way to voting stations until Wednesday.

People eligible to cast their ballots today and tomorrow include those who can't travel to their voting stations because they are disabled, pregnant or will be in a different district to their own on Election Day.

In total, more than 26 million people have registered to vote in this year's elections. Voting abroad is only possible in national elections and not in municipal elections.

The IEC's Kate Bapela said those who didn't apply for a special vote last month will have to vote on Wednesday.

"If you've not applied don't even bother because officials won't assist you. You'll go and vote with the rest of the South Africans on 3 August."

She said voting stations will be open from 8am this morning.

"Voting stations will open at 8 o'clock and close at 5pm for those who are doing special voting. They must be aware of the time."

Special voting days allocated for this year's municipal elections are today and tomorrow.