IEC launches election apps – but says no to selfies

The Electoral Commission has released three sets of mobile applications (Apps) to enhance voter education and information ahead of the May 7 elections.

The electoral body said that the apps are part of an effort to provide voting information to the masses on the devices that the majority of people still use.

The first set of apps provide information on the elections through mobile devices, including both smartphones and tablets.

The information made accessible on these mediums include:

  • Voter information (registration status, voting station locations, special votes and out-of-country notifications);
  • Election information (candidates lists, elections results, seat calculations and assignment);
  • General information (frequently asked questions, contacts, etc.)

The apps can be downloaded free from all major app stores on the following platforms: Android, BlackBerry, Apple, Windows 8 and Symbian.

Meanwhile, people casting their vote will not be allowed to take ‘selfies’ in the ballot booth or of their ballot papers during Wednesday’s elections, the IEC said on Sunday.

“It is an offence to take and/or publish photographs which reveal a person’s vote on a ballot paper. Upon conviction, offenders will be liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year,” said Independent Electoral Commission of SA spokesperson, Kate Bapela.

She said that, while it was not viable to take away all voters’ cellphones as they entered the booths, the organisation asked people to respect the law.

Bapela said there had been instances of overseas voters taking such photographs as well as apparent social media campaigns promoting the action.

“Voters may take photographs of themselves outside the voting station and of their inked thumbs to show their participation.”

The IEC said that a further set of applications launched are APIs (Application Programming Interface) which will give the media, political parties and all interested stakeholders automated real-time access to election data and information using their own apps on any online platform of their choice.

Reporting with Sapa

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IEC launches election apps – but says no to selfies