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IEC WC dismisses claims of racial segregation at Wellington voting station

A video, widely shared on social media, showed two queues; one populated by white people, and the other by black people.

A resident gets her thumb marked before casting her vote on 8 May 2019. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape chief electoral officer Courtney Sampson said on Wednesday there was no racial segregation at a voting station in Wellington.

A video, widely shared on social media, showed two queues; one populated by white people, and the other by black people.

Sampson said the black people shown in the video were voting at a station where they were not registered, and were asked to join a separate queue in order to complete a form to allow them to vote at a station other than their own.

This was the first year that citizens could cast their votes anywhere they pleased. But those voters had to fill out a form first.

Those forms ran out at several voting stations, causing delays and long queues.

Sampson said all the backlogs were cleared.

“The message that was sent was you can vote anywhere, that we are now paying the price for. Because now we must run around to make sure that the form, known as VEC form, is to be found at every voting stations in sufficient numbers.”

He said it often took a while to get ballots to (voting) stations that had run out, because of the importance of keeping those ballots safe and secure.

“No ballot papers move around without police escort, so you get the ballot papers ready for distribution to the voting stations, then you wait for the police... it takes a bit of time and it does create frustration among voters.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Sampson said while he couldn’t comment on whether the video was genuine, he was committed to getting to the bottom of it.

“We’re going to follow it up because if that happened it is a very serious indictment on our society as a whole.”

Sampson also addressed concerns around voting stations running out of ballot papers.

“We know that there’s been a holdup and that the ballot papers have been distributed where they were required.”

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