Voting is going to be as easy as 1, 2, 3

PODCAST: Voting is going to be as easy as 1, 2, 3

South Africans are just more than 6 weeks away from heading to the polls and apart from the changes in the political landscape, there will also be a new way of voting.

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Making our mark on 29 May will be a historic act in itself, because it will be the first time that each voter will be handed three ballot papers. In this first episode of our limited series elections podcast, the Jacaranda FM News team explains the voting process and why we are asked to put three votes in the ballot box. 

Listen to the episode, by clicking on the arrow underneath: 

It may sound like a steep voting mountain to climb on 29 May – having to choose three times while standing in the voting booth.

However, there’s no need to panic, says senior lecturer in Politics at the University of Pretoria, Dr. Sithembile Mbete.

"You’re just going to be voting on three ballots instead of two, and you’re going to put your cross next to the person or the party you want to vote for."

Predictions of receiving a booklet at the voting station are also a myth that Dr Mbete wants to bust.

"There isn't going to be a booklet," Mbete says. "It’s going to be a single ballot paper – and it’s going to be slightly longer than the ballot of 2019, but not that much longer."

The reason we're going to have three ballots this year, is because the electoral act has been amended to accommodate independent candidates in both the provincial legislature and the national assembly.

You will add your political voice to who will govern South Africa in parliament and who will rule the province you live in.

National Ballots

Two of the ballots will be allocated to deciding what Parliament will look like.

One of these ballots will be blue, and the other one will be orange.

The blue ballot, known as the National Compensatory Ballot, will only consist of political parties, who are throwing their names in the hat to lead the country. This ballot paper will look the same in every province, and half of the National Assembly will be determined this way.

The question you must answer on the blue ballot, is: Which political party do I want to represent me and my needs in the National Assembly?

The orange ballot, known as the National Regional Ballot, will consist of political parties and independent candidates, who will represent each province. These ballot papers will look different in each province.

 The question to answer on the orange ballot, is: Who do I want to represent my province in the National Assembly?

Provincial Ballot

There is only one ballot paper for the provincial vote and this will consist of political parties and independent candidates who want to make decisions on how the province is run.

This is going to be a pink ballot.

Mbete explains the provinces are run separately from the national government – and even have the power to have their own constitutions like in the Western Cape. Each provincial legislature has the right to create province-specific laws that suit the specific area.

The question to answer on the pink ballot, is: Who do I want to rule the province I live in?

According to Mari Harris, an IPSOS director for Sub Saharah Africa, the changes made to the electoral act is a step in the right direction.

"It actually broadens the base of democracy, it gives a voice to minorities – and I think it’s a fairer system," she says.

Mbete agrees, adding that "so many people are panicking about how this is all going to work, but I think that this is a sign that our democracy is consolidating. A democracy is doing well when you don’t know in advance who is going to win the elections – it means there is genuine choice available for citizens."

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Elections 2024 – The Power of Your X is an original JacPod series.

It has been researched, written, produced and presented by the Jacaranda FM News team.

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