Home National Ready, Set, Vote: DCS Prepares Inmates for 2024 Elections

Ready, Set, Vote: DCS Prepares Inmates for 2024 Elections

by Central News Reporter
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The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) announced its full readiness for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, set to be conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) next Wednesday. This preparation ensures that 14,753 registered inmates across correctional facilities will have the opportunity to exercise their voting rights.

Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Ready for 2024 Elections

By Thabo Mosia – The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) announced its full readiness for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, set to be conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) next Wednesday. This preparation ensures that 14,753 registered inmates across correctional facilities will have the opportunity to exercise their voting rights.

Coordinated Efforts with the IEC

The DCS has been in close collaboration with the IEC to facilitate a seamless electoral process within correctional centres. “DCS has been working with the IEC in ensuring that all logistical aspects of the voting process are meticulously planned and executed. The environment is thus conducive for the IEC to fulfil its mandate through the provision of ballot papers, secure voting booths and other necessary logistics at correctional facilities,” stated the department.

Comprehensive Voter Education

In tandem with logistical preparations, the DCS emphasised the importance of voter education for inmates. “Comprehensive voter education was also provided to inmates in order to ensure they are informed about their rights and the voting process,” the department added. This initiative is vital in making sure inmates are well-prepared and understand both their rights and the electoral process.

Statement from the Minister

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola affirmed the department’s commitment to a fair and transparent voting process within correctional facilities. “The measures we have put in place are designed to ensure that eligible inmates can exercise their right to vote in a secure and transparent manner. Hence, this initiative marks a significant step forward in ensuring that our democratic processes are inclusive and just,” said Minister Lamola.

Legal Framework for Inmate Voting

Section 24B of the Electoral Act enables prisoners to vote in elections for the National Assembly or a provincial legislature. In practice, this means that a person who is in prison on Election Day and whose name appears on the voter’s roll for another district, is temporarily registered to vote in the district where they are imprisoned.

In alignment with this provision, the DCS stated, “Inmates registered before admission to a correctional centre shall not be denied an opportunity to cast their votes.” Additionally, transfers and releases of inmates will be managed to ensure they do not miss the chance to vote.

Monitoring and Observation

To uphold transparency, independent observers will be permitted to monitor the election process within correctional facilities. The DCS elaborated on this, noting, “Observation of the voting process by political parties will be limited to two representatives per political party. This is due to limited space, whilst taking into cognisance the security imperatives of correctional centres.”

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