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Opinion polls and election results

Meningspeilings en verkiesingsuitslae

Lately, nearly every week has seen a new opinion poll predicting how political parties are expected to fare in the upcoming elections.

The latest daily poll by the Social Research Foundation (SRF) indicates that the ANC is the front runner in KwaZulu Natal after it sent in the big guns to canvass votes in the province.

Some of the ANCs even deigned to climb out of their luxury vehicles to pray with the people, clear away vegetation or do some laundry. Given the state of the country, that was most probably the hardest they had worked in the last five years.

According to the SRF’s opinion poll of two weeks ago, the ANC was in third place after the DA and MK.

Whether these polls are accurate will, however, only become clear once the election results are announced.

With the 2019 general elections, the opinion polls were generally correct in predicting that the ANC would have the most support in the elections.

The opinion polls, however, underestimated support for the FF Plus, and the party surprised young and old with how much it grew.

The playing field looks very different for the upcoming elections, though, seeing as there are so many new parties without a proven record of contesting general elections and, of course, independent candidates who may now also contest a seat.

Opinion polls should not necessarily be used to predict the outcome of elections – as became evident in the 2016 American presidential elections between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Most of the opinion polls and political analysts predicted that Clinton would win the elections. But Donald Trump was the dark horse who ultimately won.

There are various reasons why the American opinion polls were so far off. One is that some of the polling samples were not representative of all American voters and failed to take into account how many blue-collar workers would vote for Trump.

I am convinced that this time around, the opinion polls are once again underestimating support for the FF Plus and that the party will come out larger and stronger than expected.

Ek stem nie, want hulle kul

How many times have I heard someone say that? At the hairdressers, in shopping queues, standing around the fire and even at church meetings.

But that is exactly where we voters come into the picture – to stop the cheating by acting as party agents at voting stations.

An important benefit of establishing the Multi-party Charter, of which the FF Plus is part, is that it allows political parties to join forces and ensure that there is an opposition party agent present at every voting station in the country.

The relevant regulations determine, among other things, that party agents are allowed to verify that ballot boxes are empty before the voting station opens. The boxes are sealed following verification.

Agents may sign the seal and even take a photo as confirmation.

Once a ballot box is full, it is sealed again in the presence of the party agents to ensure that additional ballots cannot be added later. Ballot boxes must then be placed somewhere where agents can constantly keep an eye on them.

Once the voting station has closed, the ballot boxes are opened in the presence of the agents and the votes are counted.

After that, the results are posted outside the voting station for the public to inspect. Every party agent has to sign the result form and may also take a photo of it.

To prevent any tampering with the votes between the voting station and the Results Operations Centre (ROC), usually situated in Pretoria, opposition party agents send their voting stations’ results directly to the ROC.

These are compared to the official results of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to ensure that the numbers correspond.

It has happened in the past that the FF Plus insisted on a recount of the votes at a specific voting station after voters brought it to the party’s attention that they had voted for the FF Plus at that voting station, but it was not reflected in the results posted outside the venue.

The FF Plus encourages you to contact the party and register to act as a party agent at a voting venue to prevent any tampering with the voting process and counting.

Supporters who are interested in acting as party agents on the special vote dates of 27 and 28 May or on 29 May are welcome to contact the FF Plus on the following e-mail address: vfplus@vfplus.org.za or via this form on our website.

Party agents need to be registered voters, may not be a candidate for the election and must be in possession of an appointment form issued, in this case, by the FF Plus. This form has to be submitted to the presiding officer at the relevant voting station.

Please report for duty.

Together, we can restore and rebuild.

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