the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

I done voted

It's done. I feel all democratic and stuff. Ronwen & I were planning to pop into Northcliff Primary School to vote at 9, but that turned into 11 (it is a public holiday, after all ;-). Thankfully the queues weren't too bad and once again, as we were leaving, the queues were starting to lengthen, so our timing was impeccable.

Not without a hitch though. When we registered in November, a barcoded confirmation sticker with our ID numbers was stuck into our ID books. Let me restate that: a computer-generated, ID-number-aware bar-coded sticker, to confirm that we had registered at the Northcliff voting station. Were Ronwen & I on the voter's roll today? Noooo. We (along with a good few others) had to re-register, but at least we got to vote. One of the voting officials sheepishly said "hmm, I guess they didn't capture your details". If that were a paperised process I could understand, but in this case the system was at least partly computerised, dammit. Did someone accidentally sit on the floppy disk afterwards?

Anyway. Concerned onlookers will be pleased to know that we won't be havin' no Supreme-Court-electing-the-president fiascos here. We make our mark literally, with a big bloody cross, which while primitive, is so far removed from the world of dangling chad confusion that you have to wonder whether progress really is worth it. An interesting point about our ballots, is that each party is represented in 3 ways: the name of the party, the party logo, and a thumbnail photo of the party's leader. Why? This has been a tradition since the 1994 elections, and as I understand, the faces are included because so many South Africans are still illiterate, and faces and logos are the only way they can identify their party.

Something which has changed since '94 is how you're marked to say you've voted. Back in '94 you got your fingers swabbed with an invisible UV ink to make sure that you didn't try to vote twice. Nowadays they have special ink pens (are they, or are they just white-labelled Koki pens? ;-) and the election officials make a dot across your left thumbnail, cuticle and skin. I presume this is cheaper than the UV ink and equipment and there's less hassle than with UV lights, batteries, power outlet problems in rural areas, yadda yadda.

I suppose the other upside is that having done your bit for your country, you can at least wear your little ink dot with pride :-)

{2004.04.13 23:49}


1. Ben Langhinrichs (2004.04.14 - 13:53) #

Wow, it sounds like your election officials spent some time in Florida studying our election officials' techniques. There were lots here in 2000 who got "unregistered" if they showed too much tendency to vote Democratic.

2. Wayne Wides (2004.04.14 - 20:16) #

There was also no reward for voting early or late in the day. Some friends of mine made the mistake of trying to vote at 10am and spent three hours in the queue. I went at 4pm and spent 30 minutes at most and my parents went at 8pm and walked in, cast their vote, and walked out.

Otherwise it looks like there was a high turnout. The IEC is also reporting that a lot of holiday goers managed to cast their votes for the national election in costal towns and cities.

3. Colin (2004.04.15 - 16:48) #

Ben, I'm pretty sure the rest of the free world is hoping they all get re-registered in time for November :)

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