National Assembly passes bill to protect personal information of voters

The Electoral Amendment Bill aims to amend provisions allowing voters to vote in a voting district where they are not registered.

FILE: A voter placing her marked ballots into the local and national ballot boxes on 8 May 2019. Picture: Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has passed the Electoral Amendment Bill, which will protect the personal information of voters.

MPs voted in favour of the amendment bill at a sitting of the National Assembly on Friday.

The National Assembly again passed the Electoral Law Amendment Bill after making further amendments to one that was passed last year.

But not all political parties were in support of the bill, with a number of opposition MPs rejecting it.

The bill aims to amend provisions allowing voters to vote in a voting district where they are not registered.

The Electoral Laws Amendment Bill also intends, in part, to protect voters’ personal information by restricting access to the voters' roll and the information contained on it.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mgcini Tshwaku: "Reducting of ID numbers is going to open the flood gates for electoral corruption and will make it difficult for party agents to do oversight work."

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Wayne Thring said that the bill could raise issues of transparency.

"Reduction of digits from identity numbers on the voters' roll will indeed lead to electoral fraud and make the outcomes of elections questionable. This is completely undesirable and should not happen in a constitutional democracy. The ACDP does not support the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill."

The bill will now go to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.

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