These days almost every moment, whether significant or mundane, is shared by someone on social media. Local Government elections on Wednesday 3 August are definitely a significant day on our calendar, however, did you know that it would be an offence to share a picture of your ballot on social media? Although the Electoral Act, 1998 does not mention social media specifically, it is clear that revealing your secret vote in a “selfie” and publishing it would be unlawful.
According to our law, secrecy of voting is important to promote free and fair elections. The Act prohibits people from revealing any information about voting unless that person is specifically authorised in terms of the Act.
The electoral commission has published a list of “do’s and don’ts” for voters when they attend polling stations and it states that “no selfies of ballot papers are allowed” ... However, the IEC encourages the public to share the fact that they have voted on social media with the following hashtags: #ivoted #2016MunicipalElections.
Obviously if you do share your ballot on social media it will be very easy for election officials to trace you with the information on your profile. Rather share with the world that you did your civic duty and voted without showing where you actually marked your “X”. Your ballot is secret for a reason.