Election officials seal ballot boxes in Johannesburg, May 8 2019. Picture: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Election officials seal ballot boxes in Johannesburg, May 8 2019. Picture: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC)  has assured voters and stakeholders in the general elections “of the overall integrity of the electoral process”.

The assurance shortly before midnight on Wednesday follows allegations of instances of double voting at some stations.

South Africans voted on Wednesday in the country's sixth general elections since the dawn of its democratic dispensation.

“The Electoral Commission of SA will not allow the potential misconduct of one or two individuals  — be they voters or election officials — to taint the overall outcome of these elections,” the IEC said.

The IEC said two separate instances were brought to its  attention over the past few hours in which it was alleged that voters were able to cast more than one vote at different voting stations.

“The commission views these allegations in the most serious light and has launched investigations into these incidents,” the IEC said.

Political parties had raised issues on Wednesday related to the voting which included that the ink used to mark a voter could be washed off.

The IEC said the voting process contained a number of checks and balances to protect its integrity. This included that the voters' roll  allowed only registered voters to vote, as well as for a single registration per voter. It also required a valid ID document which was scanned before voting, as well as inking voters’ thumbs, among other measures.

The IEC said the measures were a detailed footprint  that could be used  separately or in combination to identify instances of electoral fraud.

As part of the process of finalising the results of the elections, the IEC would assess data from scanners, VEC 4 forms (used when voters vote outside their voting districts) and the voters’ roll to identify potential risks.

“Where evidence is found to support electoral fraud, the commission will firstly quarantine the results of the affected voting districts and secondly will pursue criminal charges against the perpetrators,” the IEC said.

The commission said the electoral process also allowed for objections to be raised by political parties.

“The commission appeals to any party or person who may have evidence of any electoral fraud or significant irregularity to report this immediately so that it can be thoroughly investigated.”

It said the integrity of the results was  paramount to the credibility of all elections and all results were only captured and finally displayed in the results system when the IEC was satisfied with the integrity of the results.