Party Nominee or Independent Candidate? Examining Electoral Reforms and the Use of Digital Technologies for Voter Participation in South Africa

This article discusses electoral reforms and the use of digital technologies
for voter participation in South Africa. The study employed focus group
discussions and in-depth interviews through semi-structured questions
to engage with voters and politicians. Informed by theories on politics and
technology, the articles notes that the current electoral system has advantages
and disadvantages, though it can be enhanced by the inclusion of a mixed
proportional or constituency-based electoral system whereby voters elect
political party candidates or independent candidates to represent their
constituencies. The article argues that digital technologies alone cannot
enhance voter participation without electoral policies that promote voter
participation in the candidate selection processes for provincial and national
elections. The article further highlights the fact that the use of digital
technologies and a mixed electoral system are desirable for maximum citizen
participation in national and provincial elections. However, some political
parties enjoying dominance in the multi-party democracy might perceive
reform as unfavourable. The article concludes that consensus and political
will are fundamental to harness all progressive electoral reforms and digital
tools for sustainable democracy.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: digital technologies, independent candidates, mixed electoral system, multi-party democracy, proportional representation (PR), voter participation
journal of african elections vol20 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa