- This year's election stats provide some insight into the current state of South African democracy
- In total, less than 18 million people cast their ballots
- This represents a voter turnout of only 66%
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After much speculation and campaigning, the dust has finally started to settle on the 2019 elections (although we have still yet to see President Ramaphosa's new Cabinet).
Now that the voting is over, the statistics can shed some light on the country's current post-election political landscape.
All told, a whopping 45 political parties took party in the election, up from 29 in 2014. Among these were new upstarts ACM, ATM and Patricia De Lille's GOOD.
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Despite the numerous parties vying for space, almost all voters surveyed said they were satisfied with the design of this year's ballot paper, which was extra long in order to accommodate the full list of parties. However, 18% said the paper should be bigger, while almost half suggested that the parties' logo be enlarged on future ballots.
Additionally, stats show that the average voter took 16 minutes to cast their vote from start to finish, according to AfricaCheck, which is the same length of time the process took on average in 2014.
However, some of the stats paint a bleak picture of South Africans' attitudes toward the democratic process. Just under 36 million people were eligible to vote for this year, but only 26.7 million registered.
Of that, only 17.6 million actually cast their ballots. This makes for a voter turnout of 66%, down substantially from 73.4% during the last national election.
On top of that, there were almost a quarter of a million spoiled ballots. If spoiled votes were a party, they would have won five seats in the National Assembly.
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These stats should serve as a wake-up call to the body politic. They indicate a major decrease in democratic participation - which suggests that a sizeable portion of the public may feel left behind by the democracy that is meant to serve them.
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