Own Correspondent|The number of spoilt votes in South Africa’s sixth democratic elections this easily amounts to four seats in the national assembly.
With all the polling stations tallied the number of spoilt national ballot votes amounted to more than 167 000.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the number of spoilt votes was “staggering” but the pattern of spoiling the votes could explain if they were spoilt in protest or no.
“The spoilt votes are interesting but we don’t know whether they’re deliberate or happened accidentally,” he said.
Mathekga said the big ballot paper, with 48 political parties contesting, could have confused other voters.
“The number of spoilt votes we have could be four seats in parliament… that’s a staggering number, the IEC should tell us the pattern of spoiling the ballots maybe that could give us a sense of why they’re being spoilt,” Mathekga said.
With a seat in parliament worth around 40,000 seats, but this was dependent on voter turnout, the number of spoilt votes would have given a political party more voice and representation in the national legislature.
Reportedly, 167,714 ballots were spoiled. Leading the way with the highest number of spoilt ballots was KwaZulu-Natal with 69,619, followed by the Eastern Cape and Gauteng with 53,725 and 41,057, respectively.
The Western Cape came in fourth with 35,277, followed by the North West with 31,847. Mpumalanga recorded 31,744. Limpopo, Free State and Northern Cape recorded 22,191, 15,450 and 11,057, respectively.
The electoral commission (IEC) said a spoilt or invalid vote is accounted for in the reconciliation of ballot papers in each voting station but has no bearing on the aggregation of valid votes.
“Thus, for the person who casts a ballot that is ultimately deemed as invalid, the weight of the effort is the same as that of a person who has not turned out to vote regardless of whether such a person has registered to vote or not,” said the IEC.