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Voter Registration has closed – now what?

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Voter Registration has closed – now what?

The voter registration for the 2024 general election has now closed, but what really matters is if these voters show up at the polls.

South Africa’s voter turnout has been declining over the last couple of years, and this means that there is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen in the 2024 general election.

Voter registration has closed – now what?

The upcoming 29 May 2024 general election marks 30 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa. Ye, we are entering what many experts predict to be one of the most uncertain elections in the country’s history.

Voter registration for the 2024 general elections officially closed on Friday, 23 February 2024 and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that over 27 million voters will be eligible to cast their vote when the time comes.

However, with South Africa’s voter turnout decreasing with every new election, and continued uncertainty about what lies ahead for the country’s ruling party – there is much to ponder when it comes to South Africa’s voting population.

South Africa’s voter turnout problem

The IEC recorded that the voter turnout across South Africa during the 2019 National and Provincial Elections was just above 66%.

However, if you calculate the voter turnout using the number of votes cast, divided by the size of the voting-eligible population (instead of the number of people who voted divided by the number of registered voters like the IEC does) the resulting percentage is only 49%.

If this trend persists, it means that less than 14 million South Africans will end up casting their votes in 2024.

Why are South Africans so reluctant to go the polls?

Experts have long debated the true reason why South Africans and especially the critical 18-29 age group are so reluctant to cast their vote.

And possible reasons for the decline in voters range from disillusionment and distrust in the electoral system, to growing unemployment rates and beyond.

The rise of coalition power

A recent poll by Professor David Everatt from Wits University found that the ANC’s footing in the upcoming election is even more precarious than previously predicted. And there is a fair chance that South Africa’s ruling party will not maintain its majority vote.

However, there are also credible concerns that other leading parties, like the DA and EFF, have not done enough to win over the voters who have turned their backs on the ANC.

This could result in not only fewer voters showing up to make their mark, but also in relative chaos as bigger and smaller parties scramble to negotiate coalitions and take back power in different regions.

In the end, it seems that coalitions may just become the biggest determining factor of the 2024 general election.

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