Mildly interesting facts about the 2014 election

As “the data guy” for the Democratic Alliance, naturally my job involves working with election result data. This post is a collection of mildly interesting facts I’ve learned about the 2014 elections in the course of my work. I’ll start off with a quite surprising fact: the location of the busiest voting station.

Busiest voting stations

South Africa House
South Africa House
© Copyright Robin Sones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons licence

In the 2014 South African election, the voting station visited by the greatest number of voters was not even in South Africa! Rather, it was at South Africa House in London (the High Commission to the UK). Nearly 10,000 citizens indicated their intention to vote in London, and 6,809 actually cast their ballots there. The busiest voting station within South Africa, by comparison, was at Durban City Hall, where 6,275 people voted.

This is not actually as surprising as it may seem. There is a limit on the size of voting stations within South Africa; the IEC aims to have 3,000 voters per station in urban areas. (Indeed, the Durban City Hall station is quite abnormally large.) But a voting station overseas has no such limit; it serves all the South African voters in the country where it is situated.

Incidentally, all overseas votes are counted together, so we don’t know precisely how the voters in London voted. But of the 18,000 valid votes cast overseas, 84% were for the DA.

Voting stations with no voters

There were three voting stations where no votes at all were cast. One was at Allegheny Farm, in the remote north-western end of the North West province, close to the Botswana border. There were only 22 registered voters, so it is perhaps not that unusual that none of them turned out to vote.

The other two are a pair of adjacent voting stations in Qingqolo, near Mthatha (Qingqolo Junior Secondary School and Mavundleni Location). I don’t know exactly what happened there, but I notice it is an area seriously contested between the ANC and the UDM.

The voting station with the smallest number of registered voters is situatated high in the Drakensberg, covering Highmoor and Kamberg campsites. It has only 4 registered voters, but 40 votes were cast there, presumably by visitors registered elsewhere.

Highly partial voting stations

There are two voting stations where the ANC received 100% of the votes cast: Mtika Junior Secondary School in the rural Transkei between Mthatha and Lusikisiki, and Thandolwabasha Primary School near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal. There were a further 7 voting stations where there were spoilt ballots, but all the unspoilt votes were for the ANC.

The DA cannot boast that kind of partiality. There are four voting stations where the DA received more than 95% of the votes, all of them in Cape Town: Richwood Community Hall (97%), Edgemead Primary School (96%), Llandudno Primary School (95%), and Edgemead High School (95%).

Written on May 17, 2015