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IEC making ‘contingency plans’ for deliberate power outages

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it’s making ‘contingency plans’ for manufactured outages’ or deliberate actions to trip the electricity when votes are being counted,

The Commission told Parliament on Tuesday that it was ready for the elections; several committee members raised concerns over intimidating remarks made by the MK Party after it said if its leader, Jacob Zuma, was not allowed on the ballot paper, there would be anarchy and lawlessness.

‘TENDENCY OF INCREASED OUTAGES DURING COUNTING’

“There is a tendency of increased outages when we start on counting after dark, and those seem to be manufactured; they seem to be deliberate actions to trip the grid for purposes and reasons unknown to us,” said Masego Sheburi, deputy CEO at the Commission for Electoral Operations. “So we are making contingency plans,” she added.

The IEC said this year has the most people on the voters’ roll at 27,782,477, making the 29 May elections highly contestable. It said all would be ready because preparation started 18 to 24 months before voting day. The next task is to print the millions of ballot papers and boxes, but all will be done by 8 May.

The Commission also said that the longer ballot papers and the expected high voter turnout will result in long queues and a longer time to vote, count ballots, and declare results.

IEC PROPOSES FLYING BALLOT PAPERS TO VOTING STATIONS

It has proposed flighting ballot orientation posters at voting stations to help with the orientation of ballot papers. This will also help voters to identify a party or independent candidates to minimize the risk of miscast and spoilt ballots.

The Commission reported on employing additional counting capacity, which will mean focusing on recruiting additional capacity to help with counting and completing results slips.

It has also proposed providing a dummy result slip with identifiers for parties/candidates and in the ballot sequence. This is done to reduce the risk of votes being transposed during the completion of result slips.

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