MUST READ: #2016MunicipalElections
Johannesburg - We're getting ready for the 2016 Municipal Elections. Are you? Have you ever wondered what observers are and what they actually do?
An observer is a neutral outsider who is present and sees what happens during voting, counting, and the determination and declaration of results, and can tell the world that the process was transparent, free and fair.
Regulations are in place to govern the accreditation of observers that include a Code of Conduct for Accredited Observers. In terms of the Regulations the accreditation of an observer is valid for a year, but is conditional on the observance of the code of conduct.
Every accredited observer must:
• Observe the election impartially and independently of any registered party or candidate contesting the election;
• Remain non-partisan and neutral;
• Be competent and professional in observing the election;
• Provide the Commission with a comprehensive review of the elections taking into account all relevant circumstances including:
• the degree of impartiality shown by the Commission;
• the degree of freedom of political parties to organise, move, assemble and express their views publicly;
• the opportunity for political parties to have their agents observe all aspects of the electoral process;
• the fairness of access for political parties to national media and other resources of the state;
• the proper conduct of polling and counting of votes;
• any other issue that concerns the essential freedom and fairness of the election.
The Electoral Commission accredits (officially recognises) organisations wishing to appoint election observers in the interest of promoting free and fair elections. Applications for observer status during the 2016 Municipal Elections were open from 4 September to 2 November 2015. Applications are now closed. Regulations on the accreditation of observers, a sample certificate of accreditation, and the code of conduct are all to be found HERE.
So get ready to have your say in the 2016 Municipal Elections. Your vote is your voice, use it wisely.