13 voting districts may have had potential irregularities - Stats SA

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says Statistics South Africa has identified potential negligible risks of double voting at a sample of voting stations after last week's elections.

Nearly 20 people were arrested for voting more than once amid complaints arose that the indelible ink used to vote was removable.

READ: Election observers urge IEC to revisit its laws to tighten loopholes

A report into the use of Section 24A votes at a sample of voting stations in the 2019 National and Provincial Elections was released on Thursday.

Statistician-General Mr Risenga Maluleke explains that the research conducted was a quality assurance process trying to establish any potential irregularities that may have occurred on the basis of double-voting.

The exercise was conducted independent of the IEC's audit and based on voting station result data from 1020 voting stations.

We sampled the 1020 voting districts which were stratified and we had to make sure they properly represent the province, local municipality and the ward. Out of the 1020 we can actually explain in each province, how many voting districts we were able to take...for example in the Eastern Cape, we had 214 voting districts...

Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General

He says they cannot pronounce whether or not there was double-voting.

Once the ballot boxes have been dropped in the boxes, you can no longer link them to a voter by way of identification because they don't have identifiers.

Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General

Based on the sample, Maluleke found that 13 voting districts may have had potential irregularities.

Commentator Khaya Sithole simplifies the technicalities surrounding the report and says there is problem with the way the IEC processed its statement.

Here, there are two things that you would have to consider, the question of the risk of double voting and the question of the incidents of double voting. The first one is a risk that somebody might have picked up that I can vote twice, that is not the type of thing Stats SA can actually do anything about, it is a risk that exists.

Khaya Sithole, Commentator

What they have now said is even if that was a possibility, the impact was so remote it would not make a material difference.

Khaya Sithole, Commentator

Sithole says Stats SA should have looked directly into the incidents of double-voting.

Even in these isolated instances, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it is satisfied that the trend compares favourably with previous voting patterns in voting stations with low registration levels.

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