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POSTPONED – Does the position of a political party on the ballot paper influence the outcome of elections in South Africa?

26 November 2019
12:30 - 14:00


Presenters: Ben Roberts, Gregory Houston, Derek Davids and Gilbert Fokou, Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD), HSRC

International research on the design of ballot papers used in elections have often detected a bias on top placement – i.e. when a political party is placed first on the list then voters are more likely to select it. However, the significant volume of research in this area has led to the conclusion that this bias is not limited to top placement, and voters can be biased for and against parties because they are placed in the middle or at the end of the list. Such research also demonstrates that position on the ballot paper matters in some electoral conditions, and not in others. In this seminar, a research team of the Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery research programme examine the results of the 2009, 2014 and 2019 national elections to determine the impact of position on the ballot paper on voting behaviour in South Africa. This research has implications for the design of ballot papers as well as the freeness and fairness of elections.
Kindly RSVP by 25 November 2019

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference Room, 1st  floor HSRC Library, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.
Contact Arlene Grossberg  | T: (012) 302 2811  | E:
Cape Town: HSRC Video Conference Room, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.
Contact Shouneez Khan| T: (021) 466 7948 | E:
Durban: HSRC Video Conference Room, The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001.
Contact Ridhwaan Khan  | T: (031) 242 5400  | C: 083 788 2786  | E:  or Wiseman Mbambo | E:

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DSI. Please also note that this seminar may be recorded and published on the HSRC podcast channel.