Thanks to the special vote system, quite a few voters were able to cast their ballot in comfort during the 2019 elections. CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) Ari Seirlis and QASA chairperson Norman Wright answer a few questions about this process.
How did you learn about the special vote?
Seirlis: Information about the special voting process was distributed widely, but only by QASA, the Department of Social Development and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). I also personally attended a workshop in Durban by the IEC arranged for the disability sector, where the process was explained.
Wright: Information about the special voting process was distributed by the WhatsApp group in the area where I reside.
How was the registration process?
Seirlis: Registration was very simple and done in a couple of minutes.
Wright: It was easy and done within minutes via the SMS number provided by the IEC.
How did you find the process on the day?
Seirlis: Election officers arrived at my office on the said date, which was the day before the elections. They were very friendly and the process was over in the couple of minutes. I was suitably impressed.
Wright: Election officers and an observer arrived at my home. They were very friendly and the process was handled in a professional manner, with explanations of the different ballot papers. Then I voted privately and each ballot was placed in an envelope. It was over in a matter of minutes.
What are some of the benefits to this process, in your view? Where there any negatives?
Seirlis: Voting took only a couple of minutes in the comfort of my office, so I didn’t have to endure any possible accessibility issues at the polling stations.
Wright: It was quick and in the comfort of my home, so I didn’t have to worry about accessibility problems. I felt that my vote was secure, but did miss out on the interaction with my fellow South Africans on election day.
Would you recommend this to others? If so, why?
Seirlis: There is no doubt that this is the way to go for people with mobility impairments when it comes to voting. It also gives you lots of free time on the official election day.
Wright: Absolutely. This is perfect for people with disabilities because it safe and there is no chance of being embarrassed by the lack of accessibility at a voting station.
Did you register for a special vote? Share your experience with us!
Also, read about the opportunity for a disability party in the next elections here.