Voting stations close

With the 2021 Local Government Elections having gotten off to a smooth and timely start at almost all voting stations, the period for voters to report to a voting station to cast their vote has officially ended.

Voting stations closed at 9pm on Monday but voters who were at voting stations or in a queue at 9pm would get an opportunity to cast their vote.

According to the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000, no person may be admitted to a voting station for the purpose of voting after the voting station has closed for voting.

The counting of votes at the country’s 23 148 voting stations normally takes place at the voting station where the votes are cast. Party agents, independent ward candidate agents and observers oversee the entire counting and results process, and are present at all times.

After voting stations close at 9pm and voters in the queues have voted, counting will begin. According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), the first results are expected after midnight.

The vote counting process involves the following:

All ballot boxes allocated to a voting station are accounted for. Sealed ballot boxes are opened and emptied.

Each ballot paper is unfolded and checked for the Electoral Commission security stamp. Ballots without stamps are not counted.

All ballot papers are grouped according to colours representing the type of election (District, Local/Metro and Ward). The ballots are sorted into piles according to votes for each party and each ward candidate.

The ballots are counted and bundled into packs of 100. The results are counted for each party or candidate.

The results for the various parties or candidates are reconciled against the number of ballots received and the total number of ballots cast at that voting station.

Results slips are signed by the counting officer, independent ward candidate agents and party agents. A copy of the results slip is posted on the door of each voting station. The other copy is transported to the local Electoral Commission office where it is scanned and captured in the results system. The results are also verified by independent external auditors.

The results centres are there for political party representatives and independents to monitor the voting, counting and results process. Parties have the opportunity to raise objections to any alleged irregularities. Other stakeholders present include the media and observers.

The final results and seat allocation for Metro and Local Councils are announced by the Commission within seven days of the election. District Councils are formed later once the local councils have been constituted and have elected representatives to the District Council.

These are the sixth municipal election held in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Since 1994, domestic and international stakeholders have viewed all of South Africa’s elections as free and fair.

At an earlier briefing today, the IEC announced that over 8 million South Africans had cast their votes across the country’s 23 148 voting stations as at 5pm.

Source: South African Government News Agency