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Digital channels to deliver speedy election results

Read time 3min 20sec

As South Africans get ready to vote in the 2019 South African elections tomorrow, they will be able to keep up with the results online as and when they become available.

Yesterday, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) kicked off election week, with two special voting days. More than 700 000 South Africans applied to cast special votes, according to the IEC.

While the outcome of SA's sixth national and provincial elections can only be declared by the IEC, voters can use the IEC's Web site and mobile app, as well as social media pages to track the progress of the political parties they voted for.

The IEC site is dedicated to all things voting, including checking registration status and a portal to check and update your address online.

Libisi Maphanga, CIO of the IEC, previously confirmed to ITWeb the results will be available in real-time online through tech-savvy channels like mobile apps, adding SMS will also be available to check registration and voting stations.

Speaking at the launch of the IEC's Results Operations Centre at the weekend, chairperson Glen Mashinini appealed to all stakeholders to respect the fact that only the Electoral Commission can proclaim the results of the elections. "We hope to announce the final results here on Saturday, 11 May," he stated.

Hot off the press

Just like the IEC, news outlets will also provide citizens with the latest election updates. Maphanga has indicated live results will be streamed to the media.

He explained the IEC has similar APIs as those used in the last two elections. This allows media houses and other stakeholders to develop their own applications to publish election data directly from the IEC's databases without having to worry about copying, managing and maintenance of the data.

"Through our APIs, they [media and other stakeholders] access data directly from our systems and present them as they see fit on their online platforms; that is, Web sites, apps, mobile phones, etc.

"Those APIs have access to various information...it all depends on the type of information the media outlet is looking to provide in real-time."

The Sunday Times has already set-up an election 2019 Web site that allows citizens to double-check registration and find the location of respective voting stations. Other news entities that usually provide real-time election data include the South African Broadcasting Corporation, News24 and Eyewitness News, to name a few.

Where to vote?

Finding the correct voting station has come up as one of the frequently asked questions on the IEC's social media page.

While calling and SMSing are some of options to locate a voting station, there is also the choice of using GPS navigation software app, Waze.

The IEC has made it possible for Waze to identify voting stations in and around the location where the voter is located. By simply searching the first few letters of the word voting, "vo" for example, Waze is able to bring up the stations where the search is taking place.

Based on IEC rules, citizens can vote at any voting station. If citizens are voting in the province in which they are registered, they will get both national and provincial ballots. However, voting outside of the province where registration took place means only a national ballot.

South Africans have from 7am to 9pm on 8 May to cast their votes to elect a new National Assembly and new provincial legislatures in each province.

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