IEC appeals to voters to take advantage of registration weekend

MARCH 3, 2016

The Election Commission is calling on all eligible voters to come out in their numbers to register and to update their details ahead of the upcoming 2016 Municipal Elections during this weekend’s voter registration drive.

According to the IEC, voting stations will be open throughout the country between 8am and 5pm on Saturday 5 March and Sunday 6 March to assist:

  • those who have never before registered to register as voters for the first time;
  • those who previously registered but have moved since they registered to re-register in their new voting district; and
  • those whose registration status may have been impacted by changes to ward or voting district boundary changes to re-register in their new voting district

"The Electoral Commission is also calling on all registered voters – even if they have not changed address or been impacted by boundary changes – to use the opportunity to visit their voting station to update their address and contact details to help enhance the voters’ roll.

"The Electoral Commission is confident that everything is in place for this weekend’s registration to run smoothly and efficiently with all materials delivered and ready (including over 10 million registration forms and 33 000 “Zip Zip” machines), approximately 52 000 staff trained and ready to assist voters, and some 22 570 voting station venues identified and ready to open at 8am on Saturday," it said.

Registration process

"All those visiting a voting station should have with them a valid South African identity document – namely either a green bar-coded ID book, a smartcard ID or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate.

"Applicants will also need to provide an address of where they live that is located in the voting district where they are registering. Where voters do not have a formal address they will need to provide sufficient details of where they live to allow election officials to confirm they are registering in the correct voting district. However, proof of address is not a prerequisite for registration," the IEC said.

"All applicants will complete a REC1 voter registration application form in person at the voting station for the voting district in which they ordinarily reside.

"Voters without formal addresses will be required to complete and sign an affirmation form (REC AS) accompanying the REC 1 form in which they attest to the fact they live in the relevant voting district."

It said that in the municipal elections, voters may only vote where they are registered and voters are reminded that it is a criminal offence to register in a voting district in which they are not ordinarily resident.

To find their correct voting station, eligible voters can:

  • Call the Contact Centre on 0800 11 8000 (7am to 9pm weekdays). The Contact Centre will also be open over the registration weekend
  • Dial *120*432#
  • Use the Voting Station Finder App on www.elections.org.za

"Each voting station has also been provided with a copy of the inspection voters’ roll reflecting the voters currently registered in that voting district. They also have maps showing the boundaries of the voting district so that residents can point out where they live.

"When registering, voters’ ID documents are scanned by “Zip-Zip” machines to capture the barcode and then receive a registration receipt showing the voting district in which they have applied for registration. This receipt is stuck into a voter’s ID book (in the case of a green barcoded ID) or affixed to a receipt in the case of smartcard IDs," the IEC said.

The applications will be uploaded over the next few days and applicants are then able to check the success of their registration application by SMSing their ID number to 32810 (cost R1), visiting www.elections.org.za or calling 0800 11 8000.

Collect your ID

The Department of Home Affairs has announced that its branches will also be open over the weekend between 8am and 5pm to coincide with the registration hours. This will allow voters who have not yet collected their IDs to collect them and those who may have lost their ID to apply for a temporary ID certificate in order to register.

The Department this week announced that there were over 220 000 smart ID cards ready for collection at its branches around the country. Enquiries regarding ID documents can be made to the Home Affairs Call Centre on 0800 60 11 90 and those who have applied for an ID can check the status of their application by SMSing their ID number to 32551.

Voters’ Roll Statistics

The voters’ roll as at 31 January 2016 showed that 24 964 498 voters were registered.  Based on latest voting age population (VAP) estimates provided by Statistics South Africa, there are currently approximately 34 million South African citizens of voting age, placing the current registration level at 73 percent of all eligible voters.

Of the approximately 9 million eligible voters not currently registered:

  • Approximately 1.5 million are 18 - 19 years old (16 percent)
  • Approximately 4.3 million are 20 – 29 years old (46 percent)
  • Approximately 1.6 million are 20 – 39 years old (18 percent)
  • Approximately 0.8 million are 40 – 49 years old (9 percent)
  • Approximately 1 million are over 50 years old (11 percent)

From a provincial point of view, the figures show that Gauteng (5 937 471) currently has the highest number of registered voters followed by KwaZulu-Natal (5 056 518), Eastern Cape (3 161 535), Western Cape (2 900 567), Limpopo (2 436 112), Mpumalanga (1 827 935), North West (1 651 242), Free State (1 418 288) and Northern Cape (584 830). But the statistics also show that almost one in three unregistered voters lives in Gauteng.

The approximate numbers of unregistered voters per province is as follows:

Province

Estimated Unregistered voters (in millions)

As a percentage of total (Rounded)

Eastern Cape

1.0

11

Free State

0.4

4.5

Gauteng

2.7

30

KwaZulu-Natal

1.4

15.5

Limpopo

0.8

9

Mpumalanga

0.7

8

North West

0.6

7

Northern Cape

0.2

2

Western Cape

1.2

13

TOTAL

9

100

 

The Electoral Commission hopes that at least 1 million new voters will use the opportunity to register before the voters’ roll closes for the 2016 Municipal Elections.

Increase in Voting Stations

"A total of 22 570 voting stations will open this weekend, 1 711 more (8.2 percent increase) than in the previous municipal elections held in 2011 and 307 more than in 2014 national and provincial elections (when there were 22 263 voting stations).

"The voting stations serve voting districts covering 4 392 wards (up 2.7 percent since 2011 when there were 4 277 wards) in 8 metropolitan councils (unchanged from 2011), 205 local municipalities (compared to 226 in 2011), and 44 district municipalities (unchanged)," the IEC said.

"The increase in voting stations reflects not only the increase in wards following the municipal demarcation process but is also part of the on-going efforts by the Electoral Commission to enhance accessibility to voters."

The increase in voting stations since 2011 has favoured rural provinces with 26.6 percent of new voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal, 20 percent in Limpopo, 12.75 percent in Gauteng, 12.5 percent in the Free State, 9 percent in North West, 8.6 percent in Mpumalanga, 6.5 percent in Eastern Cape, 3 percent in Northern Cape and 0.7 percent increase in the Western Cape.

Registration stations are located at a wide variety of premises which are leased by the Electoral Commission for registration weekends and voting days. These include schools (65%), community and civic halls (10% percent), places of worship (8%) and other community venues. Approximately 5% percent will use temporary facilities including tents and other temporary structures in the absence of fixed structures.

Increase in Voting Station Staff

"Most of the voting station will be staffed by two officials to assist voters to register quickly and easily bringing to 51 849 the number of officials to be deployed for the weekend. This is a 12 percent increase from the previous registration weekend held ahead of the 2014 National and Provincial Elections in November 2013," the IEC said.

"Voting station staff are identifiable by their white t-shirts bearing the IEC logo on the front and 2016 Municipal Elections logo and “Register to Vote” on the back."