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No mask, no vote? IEC reveal hardline policy for Election Day

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Oct 31, 2021

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has confirmed that South Africans MUST wear a mask when they turn up to vote in the Local Elections, on Monday 1 November. Face coverings will be mandatory for the millions of citizens who will be filling in their ballot papers tomorrow – unless an individual has a medical exemption.

Do I need a mask to vote in the Local Elections? Yep…

Earlier this week, the IEC clarified that people ‘did not have to be vaccinated to vote’, saying that the electorate is free to make its own decisions. However, their liberal tone doesn’t extend to mask-wearing.

So although you can arrive at a voting centre as an unvaccinated person, someone who arrives unmasked WILL be turned away. According to the IEC, election officials are prepared to refuse entry to those who don’t ‘cover-up’:

“Don’t go to your voting station without wearing a mask. If you don’t have a mask or face cover, election officials will refuse you entry to the voting station and you will not be able to vote.”

IEC statement

IEC explain their stance on face coverings

In a bid to make Election Day ‘COVID-secure’, the IEC says it is pulling out all the stops to prevent any potential super-spreader events from emerging at the voting stations. They’ve also asked the general public to bring their own ‘black pens’ with them, so they can limit the number of people using the same equipment on Monday.

Mask-wearing remains compulsory for all South Africans aged six and over, when in public spaces. A failure to put on a face mask when instructed by a legal official can result in a conviction. In restaurants and bars, face coverings can be removed when patrons are seated and when food or drink is being consumed.

And, as we’ve learned this weekend, South Africa now officially has a ‘no mask, no vote’ policy in place.

Don’t go to your voting station without wearing a mask. If you don’t have a mask or face cover, election officials will refuse you entry to the voting station and you will not be able to vote. #LGE2021 #VoteSafe pic.twitter.com/LrDjk5b6MK

— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) October 31, 2021

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