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Merging SA’s elections could pose a logistical challenge, warns IEC

The commission said it would need to print some 130 million ballots and vote counting could be more complex and possibly go beyond the current stipulated seven days.

FILE: An IEC official sits behind two ballot boxes, as she waits for voters in Langa. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday said that any decision to synchronise municipal, provincial and national elections should only happen after next year’s local government polls.

The IEC said that the decision to merge elections rested with Parliament and it warned that it would pose a logistical challenge.

The commission said that it would need to print some 130 million ballots and vote counting could be more complex and possibly go beyond the current stipulated seven days.

It was also worried that the system could be complex for voters, who in some areas would need up to five ballot papers.

Some MPs have called for all elections to be run on one day to reduce the high cost of campaigning.

“The commission, under well-considered assessment and sound legal advice, is of the view that any proposal to merge elections can only be realistically considered after next year’s municipal elections,” said IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini.

While electronic voting could ease the logistical nightmare of synchronised elections, the IEC said that its plans to pilot e-voting had been thwarted.

The commission wanted to test electronic voting in next year’s local government elections with plans to roll it out for the 2024 elections. It said that its request for extra funding was not successful.

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