‘Electoral Act Amendment Bill’ poses serious risk to integrity of elections

FF Plus

‘Electoral Act Amendment Bill’ poses serious risk to integrity of elections

Just a few weeks are not enough time for the public to thoroughly consider legislation that could influence the foundation of South Africa’s constitutional democracy, especially of it paves the way for the undermining of free and fair elections in the future.

The Electoral Act Amendment Bill, as proposed by the Minister, does exactly that and it will be done without adequate input and oversight.

During the amendment process of the Electoral Act, it became evident that there is public concern about the Bill, particularly those clauses that aim to give the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) the power to prescribe a different voting method for national, provincial and local government elections.

A particular cause for concern is that it affords the IEC the power to unilaterally prescribe a different voting method. It is in contravention of the Constitution, which stipulates that the details of the electoral system must be prescribed by national legislation after a process of public participation was completed.

In addition to that, it appears as if the Bill is opening the door for the implementation of an electronic voting system. This raises the concern that such a voting system could potentially, if it lacks the necessary guarantees, facilitate electoral fraud which will further undermine the concept of free and fair elections.

The Constitutional Court’s ruling made it very clear that the voters’ roll must contain the addresses of registered voters.

The IEC’s mandate to prescribe a different voting procedure for voters without addresses on the voters’ roll creates two different classes of voters and in the FF Plus’s view, that is not acceptable. All voters must be treated equally.

This Amendment Bill poses a serious risk to the integrity of elections.

This is just a cynical attempt to do away with the remnants of democratic accountability in South Africa by transferring a function which should rightly remain with an entity that is democratically accountable to the people of South Africa.

The FF Plus will ensure that the details of the electoral system are constitutionally reserved for Parliament with a statutory framework and without the IEC being afforded powers that are in contravention of the Constitution.

The party will also see to it that any voting methods implemented by the IEC do not deviate from the lawfully prescribed voting procedures.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Jaco Mulder on FF Plus

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