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Is South Africa ready for electronic voting?

- By Maxwell Maseko

At least nineteen African countries will go to the polls in 2024 to choose national and regional leaders. Some observers have aptly called it an African ‘Democracy Super Bowl.’ Yet, how does a continent that has suffered decades of state capture (The Global State of Democracy Report – 2022) and democratic decline ensure free, fair and participatory electoral processes for effective democratic governance? Technology may be the answer.

Voter apathy a threat to democracy

There are multiple threats to African democracy. An increasing number of African leaders continue to unilaterally change their constitutions and legal frameworks to hold on to power. The past decade has also seen a rise in the number of authoritarian governments, especially in West Africa where power transfers are marked by coups d’état and violent election-related protests. Most importantly however, democracy in Africa is being threatened by mounting voter apathy, low registration numbers and low voter turnouts – especially among young people.

This article appears on Mail & Guardian’s website.