Electoral Commission response on ballot paper design
5 October 2021
The Electoral Commission has received and responded to communication from ActionSA, one of the parties contesting the 2021 Municipal Elections, regarding the ballot paper design.
The Electoral Commission confirms that following the close of candidate nominations, a series of meetings of the local Political Party Liaison Committees were convened to enable political parties and independent candidates participating in the November 1 Municipal Elections to sign off on the draft ballot paper. The purpose of this exercise is to verify the completeness of administrative processes related to candidate nomination as well as confirmation of the registered party identifiers on the various ballots.
In terms of the electoral prescripts, the Commission is empowered to determine the design of ballot papers to be used in an election. This has been the case since the advent of democracy in the country. The scheme in the design of the ward ballots involves the following identifiers:
The name of the candidate
Photo in case of an independent candidate
The logo (or distinguishing mark) of the party
The abbreviated name of the party, where one has been registered
In the case of a PR ballot, the cluster of identifiers is replicated, save that the name of the candidate is replaced by the full name of the political party. Independent candidates do not contest a PR election.
The use of registered particulars of a political party in the ballot paper design is intended to obviate ad hoc and arbitrary considerations. The unique identifiers are provided by each political party at the point of application for registration as a party. Thus the scheme places responsibility on the party to register whatever details and identifiers it deems appropriate.
The absence of the abbreviated name of ActionSA on the ward ballots is because, at the point of registering as a party, ActionSA elected not to register an abbreviated name or acronym. ActionSA, in their documents in which they applied for registration as a political party, and which must be publically lodged in terms of the regulations, responded with a “Not Applicable” in the space where the political party was required to indicate its abbreviated name. The party went further to indicate that “there is no abbreviation of the name of the party” as part of its application documentation. The application was lodged in Government Gazette 43940, published on 27 November 2020.
There are 14 other political parties that appear on the various ballot papers without abbreviated names.
The insinuation that the Commission is acting without due impartiality is without foundation and mischievous. The onus to choose party identifiers rests with the political party and not the Commission and the scheme in the ballot design has been part of our electoral management practice since the inception of democratic local government in 2000.
Issued by Kate Bapela on behalf of IEC, 5 October 2021