Electoral commission to 'spare no cent' to get lights on voting day
The electoral commission has had to activate an expensive contingency plan to ensure voting stations have electricity on voting day due to load-shedding.
The commission said on Wednesday that the indefinite rotational power cuts were a concern for the electoral process.
Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said ensuring all voting stations have electricity is “not an easy issue” and is expensive.
Mamabolo said the electoral commission has had engagements with Eskom, which announced on Tuesday that daily power cuts lasting as long as four hours were expected to continue for the next six months.
“We are going into a second-tier contingency plan to ensure that counting especially -because counting happens at night - is not disrupted if there isn’t energy supply in certain sections of our community,” Mamabolo said.
He said the contingency plan is being finalised so that voters and electoral officials are not left in the dark.
“In order to protect the integrity of the electoral process, we will spare no cent and no effort to ensure there is sufficient lighting inside voting stations on voting day,” Mamabolo told the media on Wednesday.
Another expensive challenge facing the electoral commission in the 2019 general elections is the cost of printing a long ballot paper which will allow for all 48 parties registered to contest the national elections to be represented.
“The size of the ballot is costly and very few printing presses in the country can undertake printing exercise of the magnitude of the ballot we have,” Mamabolo said, adding that the second complication is that the commission will now require more ballot boxes to accommodate the longer ballot.
The printing of the ballots is expected to take two weeks.
Further, Mamabolo said they were taking precautions to ensure that the electoral commission did not fall victim to manipulation of results.
“As an electoral body our ultimate responsibility is that the will of the SA voter is represented. Measures have been taken to ensure the integrity of our network is maintained even during the period of election,” he said.