IEC Prohibits Pictures of Marked Ballots to Protect Voter Secrecy

IEC Prohibits Pictures of Marked Ballots to Protect Voter Secrecy

  • The IEC has strictly prohibited photographing marked ballots, emphasising this rule's importance for maintaining voter secrecy and election integrity
  • This announcement follows the circulation of ballot images on social media platform X as the elections commence
  • IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo stressed that upholding this prohibition is crucial for protecting voters from coercion and ensuring a fair electoral process
Pictures of a marked ballot is a criminal offence
The IEC has prohibited pictures of marked ballots to protect voter secrecy and ensure free and fair elections. Images: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg.
Source: Getty Images

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has warned all voters that photographing their marked ballots is strictly prohibited.

This announcement follows the circulation of several ballot images on social media platform X as the general elections commence.

IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo emphasised the importance of this rule in maintaining the secrecy and integrity of each voter's choice.

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Upholding the principles of a free and fair election

As South Africans began to flock to voting stations, Mamabolo stated that this would help uphold the principles of a free and fair election.

"The prohibition on photographing marked ballots is essential to ensure that every vote remains confidential. This measure is critical to protect voters from potential coercion or undue influence."

See the video below:

IEC will closely monitor voters

The IEC closely monitors compliance and has warned that any breaches of this rule will be dealt with according to the law.

In a post on X, a netizen warned fellow voters and noted this was a criminal offence:

Voters are encouraged to report such misconduct to election officials immediately.

The IEC's efforts aim to safeguard the democratic process and ensure that every citizen can vote without fear of their choices being publicly disclosed.

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South Africans don't want to keep their votes a secret

Despite Mamabolo noting this was a criminal offence, netizens argued this should be their choice if they wish to keep it private.

@Afrika_kaNguni noted her concerns:

Shouldn't it be my choice to make it a secret or not? Won't photographs enhance accountability and accuracy in cases of dispute? Aren't voters influenced by Electoral campaigns, political affiliations & other choices? Why should it be a prohibition not a choice or option?

@Ed_UberDriver commented:

"We will find creative ways to influence the people to vote for any other party, but the ANC."

@tshidumbi asked:

"Why do we have to hide our choice?"

@tsholux jokingly said:

"In a whole democratic country aren’t we free to choose without restrictions kanti?"

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Source: Briefly News

Authors:
Reitumetse Makwea avatar

Reitumetse Makwea (Editor) Reitumetse Makwea is a Current Affairs journalist at Briefly News. She has a National diploma, Advanced diploma and Post-graduate diploma in Journalism from the Tshwane University of Technology. She first worked as a student journalist and freelancer for Caxton's Record Noweto and later joined The Citizen News, where she worked for a little over 3 years covering politics, environmental news, business, education, and health. Reitumetse joined Briefly News in 2024. Email: reitumetse.makwea@briefly.co.za

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