This year marks 23 years since the establishment of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC). Having served as a commissioner for the IEC for almost 14 years, and as vice-chairperson from 2011 until late 2018, I witnessed the growth of the institution with the growth of electoral democracy in SA.

Over the years the IEC’s systems have made it easy for all citizens to exercise their right to vote. Yet SA’s democratic gains are at a risk of being undermined by high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality, and it should be asked whether the electoral landscape is ready for the role of big data and machine learning. ..

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