Wits students voting dololo

By Nokuthula Zwane and Zanta Nkumane

WITS voting stations did not see long lines at the polls as many students skipped out on casting their ballots for the local government elections. Officials estimated that voter turnout was less than 30%.
Throughout election day, the lines at voting stations at Education Campus and the Old Mutual Sports Hall on East campus barely stretched past 20 people at a time. When Wits Vuvuzela went to check at 5pm if the voter turnout had improved, only two people were in the line at Old Mutual. “We were expecting 2 520 people but only 700 have showed up,” an Independent Election Official (IEC) official revealed.  “Students don’t want to vote,” he said with a chuckle.

Wits Vuvuzela journalists took time out from covering elections to cast their own votes. The local government elections went relatively smoothly with voting stations running from 7am to 7pm. Final election results are expected to be released from this evening. PHOTO: ZANTA NKUMANE

#IVOTED: Wits Vuvuzela journalists took time out from covering elections to cast their own votes. The local government elections went relatively smoothly with voting stations running from 7am to 7pm. Final election results are expected to be released from this evening.         PHOTO: Zanta Nkumane

The scenes at the Wits polling stations were as quiet as a cemetery, with security guards and police sitting in a group chatting and snacking. “We’ve been bored all day,” said a police officer.
Across the Library Lawns, the ANC had set up a tent and was still campaigning. A group of about 20 student activists sangs songs in the chilly wind.After a study conducted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) revealed last week that most students would rather protest than vote, this poor turnout may be a wakeup call for parties to re-think how they engage youth voters going forward.
Mokgadi Maila, a Mining Engineering student, said she was a second time voter but after voting, she was still doubtful if it would make a difference to political parties.
“I don’t think they’ll change anything. I hope they can deliver,” she said.While others went to the polls, some students didn’t bother to register to vote.
“You vote then what happens?” asked 23-year-old Smanele Mbhele, Honours Education. “I had better things to do today than vote.”
Although the turnout at Wits was not as expected, many South Africans made their X mark on the ballot for the Municipal Elections.
Over 133.000 voting booths were opened across the country. In preparation for the elections, the IEC had made arrangements to ensure that the elections remained free and fair.
Among the citizens who voted around the country was President Jacob Zuma who cast his vote in his hometown of Nkandla, in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane cast his vote with his wife, Natalie, at the Allen Glen High School in Roodeport. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema cast his vote in Seshego, Limpopo.
This election has been highly anticipated with many opposition parties such as the DA and EFF expecting to increase their share of the vote at the expense of the ruling ANC.

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Wits VuvuvuzelaThe Voters experience #AtThePolls, 3 Aug 2016

Campaigning for the youth vote

With municipal elections taking place next week, the top three contenders are vying for the youth vote. Earlier this year, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has expressed concern about apathy among young voters who make up 66% of the population according to Stats SA. (more…)

Newbie’s guide to the elections

Municipal elections are set for Wednesday August 3, and according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), there are almost 700 000 registered voters who will be voting for the first time.

What are Municipal Elections?

Municipal elections are for local government and take place every five years. They are to elect councillors for metropolitan councils in big cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town; local councils for towns such as Potchefstroom and Standerton and their surrounding rural areas; and district councils which coordinate a number of local municipalities in a region. These councils are responsible providing services such as water, electricity, and waste removal.

Why is it important to vote in the municipal elections?

It is the responsibility of citizens to vote for councils that they think will provide satisfactory services and access to resources in their area.
What electoral system is used in South Africa?
There are three main types of electoral systems in the world. The first is the Proportional Representation (PR) council where you vote for a party and the party gets seats according to the percentage of votes it receives. The different parties then decide which candidates will fill those seats.
The second is the Constituency based system where voters vote an individual to represent an area and the person who gets most votes is elected.
The third system, which South Africa uses, is the mixed system which uses a combination of the PR and constituency system.

How many ballot papers will I get?

The number and type of votes you have depends on where you live.
Voters who are registered in metropolitan areas will receive two ballot papers. The first one is for a party. The second is for a ward councillor who may be an independent, or be from a party.
For local councils voters receive three ballot papers: one for the party, another for a ward councillor and the last for a party for the district council.

Your rights as a voter:

You have the right to free and fair elections by being fully informed and deciding for yourself who to vote for.
As a democratic citizen you have the right to vote, no one should stop you from voting. However, you also have the right not to vote.
You have the right to choose which party or candidate you would like to vote for and no-one is allowed to try to bribe or threaten you to vote for a particular party.
You have the right to a secret vote where your vote is anonymous and where no one is allowed to watch you make your vote.
You have the right to get help to vote if you are blind, disabled or elderly by asking a family member, friend or election official for help.
You have the right to vote in a safe environment and the right to make a complaint to the Presiding Officer if you are unhappy about harassment or intimidation within the voting station.

Related articles:

“Importance” in the youth vote, Wits Vuvuzela, April 2016

Will the youth affect local elections, Wits Vuvuzela,  March 2016