The final report of the Statistician-General into the use of Section 24A votes at a sample of voting stations in the 2019 National and Provincial elections has revealed negligible risks of double voting.
This decision to conduct the audit was taken in conjunction with political parties, following controversy over the ink used to mark voters’ thumbs after casting their ballots in the May 8 general elections.
The report was intended, in addition to the set of internal validations already applied by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), in determining the freeness and fairness of the election based on the likelihood of multiple voting.
“This validation exercise was conducted independently by Statistics South Africa based on voting station result data from 1020 voting stations,” said the commission.
“The selected voting stations provide a statistically reliable sample of voting around the country. The sample size was selected to provide a very high degree of reliability with a 3 percent margin of error.
“The analysis compared the occurrence of Section 24A votes in a voting district to the mean number of Section 24A votes in the ward. If the Section 24A votes in a voting district were significantly higher than instances of Section 24A votes in the ward this would be flagged as an indicator of potential deviation from the voting process.”
Dozens of political parties contesting the 2019 elections raised concerns about possible voter fraud amid widespread reports of irregularities by the close of voting.
The commission added that it found nothing untoward in the trends and patterns of voters.
“The Commission is satisfied,” the IEC added, “that the use of Section 24A voting was consistent with previous elections and showed a significant deviation from the pattern in only a tiny number of voting stations in the sample (13 out of 1020 or 1.27 percent). Even in these isolated instances, the Commission is satisfied that the trend compares favourably with previous voting patterns in voting stations with low registration levels.”
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.