Big change coming to South Africa’s voting stations

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says that it will soon be issuing a tender for the procurement of new voter registration technology which is intended to support the process of voter registration, and to manage the voters’ roll on voting day.

The IEC said that a total of 60,000 portable devices will be procured to replace the ageing existing registration devices popularly known as “zip-zip machines” which have been a feature of elections in South Africa for many years.

The group said that this tender reflects a ‘significant departure’ from current voter registration practices currently being used.

“The approach used to date – that of scanning an identity document and recording the data – is now outdated and inadequate for future purpose,” it said.

“The Electoral Commission intends to harness advances in appropriate technology and apply them in this solution.”

The IEC said that in terms of the tender, a staggered delivery of the devices is envisaged commencing two months from the date the award is made and concluding no later than March 2021.


South Africa’s May national elections were marred by instances where voters were able to cast more than one vote at different voting stations.

The commission said that a number of voters had been arrested in connection with alleged double-voting, while it was forced to conduct an audit that covered a statistically representative sample of stations.

The IEC said that it has also ordered an investigation into the effectiveness of the indelible ink marker pens supplied for the elections.

A number of social media posts on voting day showed that the ink could be easily removed, leading to concerns that the lack of an identifying mark would make it easier for people to double-vote.

The IEC said that the investigation will be performed alongside the CSIR and with the full cooperation and support of the supplier.

“The results capture and verification process continues, and the Electoral Commission gives its assurance to South Africa that it will only announce results where it is 100% confident in the integrity and legitimacy of those results,” it said.

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Big change coming to South Africa’s voting stations