2021 Local Elections


Holding elections on a long weekend does not explain low voter turnout

Voters arrive in the pouring rain at a tented voting station near the Woodstock Town Hall in Cape Town to cast their ballots in the local government elections on 1 November 2021. (Photo: Victoria O’Regan)

HSRC points to high levels of disillusionment and discontent with political processes in South Africa.

Voters tend to prefer having elections either on a weekend or a public holiday.

This is according to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) during a media briefing at the National Results Operation Centre in Tshwane.

Acting Strategic Lead and Research Director of the HSRC, Dr Benjamin Roberts, said this was according to pre-election surveys done over time. 

This suggests the long weekend might not have been a contributing factor to Monday’s low voter turnout. Monday was also a public holiday.

Instead, separate data gathered by the Council from ‘non-voters’ suggests high levels of disillusionment and discontent with formal politics might be to blame. 

The briefing was held on Wednesday morning to announce findings on the Election Satisfaction Survey (ESS).

Further data from the ESS shows 68% of voters reported being vaccinated prior to election day. “This suggests that there was a greater tendency among the vaccinated to turn out and cast their ballot than the unvaccinated,” said the HSRC. DM


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