Today marks the start of the two-day (6th and 7th May) special voting for the 2019 national elections, with around 770 000 voters expected to cast their votes at the country’s 22 924 voting stations.
According to SA News, the Independent Electoral Commission has urged political parties to reduce political activities to allow space for voting to take place peacefully as well as appealed to communities not to engage in any civil unrest, protests or demonstrations that may impact on electoral operations.
“At all times, any hindrance or obstructions in the work of the Commission in the exercise of its duties is prohibited. The Electoral Act 73 of 1997 also specifically prohibits political meetings, marches, demonstrations or any other political event taking place on voting day. It also prohibits strikes and lockouts in public transport and telecommunications sectors,” said the IEC.
The IEC cautioned voters against disinformation and fake news reports designed to undermine the smooth election process after rumours surfaced this weekend that state pension payments would be delayed this week.
“The declaration of Election Day as a public holiday is to ensure every voter has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote and this takes priority over any business activities this week. This is especially important for workers in the mining, agriculture, retail and tourism industries. It is an offence to prevent access to voting stations by voters, political parties, election officials and observers,” concluded the IEC.