Low youth registration a concern
IEC plans to draw in the youngsters
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)’s chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said yesterday alarmingly low registration by young voters was cause for concern. Mamabolo revealed at a media conference at the IEC head office in Centurion yesterday that only 15.6% of eligible voters in the 18 and 19year-old age group were registered to vote.
As if this was not a big enough concern‚ there were only 56.7% eligible voters in the 20 to 29 age group who appeared on the national voters’ roll – six months before next year’s elections. “The Electoral Commission will be supporting the registration drive with the roll-out of a national communication and education campaign to encourage participation. A key thrust of the campaign will be urging young‚ firsttime voters to register.” The IEC also announced that its final registration weekend was set for January 26 and 27. Mamabolo said their campaign to tackle apathy among first-time voters would target universities as soon as they reopened in the new year. However‚ it was going to be a challenge with the final registration weekend set for a date falling before the start of the academic year in many institutions of higher learning. According to Mamabolo‚ registration for voters living abroad and that of prisoners would also be conducted in
January‚ either before or after that of the general voters. The IEC was confident‚ as per the president’s proclamation‚ that elections would take place in May – and had thus developed timeline of events leading up to the big day.
IEC chair Glen Mashinini said after the registration in late January they expected President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ in February‚ to proclaim the election date.
In March and April‚ contesting political parties will be
expected to submit names of candidates for national parliament and provincial legislatures while ballot papers will be drawn during the same period. The IEC would then proceed to set up results centres across the country in May.
The Independent Electoral Commission is set for national voter registration drive aimed mainly at enticing the reluctant youth to participate in the next general election next year.