IEC prepares for final voter registration weekend ahead of 2016 elections

APRIL 6, 2016

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday appealed to all eligible voters to make use of the final opportunity to register and to update their registration and address details at their voting stations this weekend 9 and 10 April 2016.

"While registration for the upcoming 2016 Municipal Elections will continue at the Electoral Commission’s local offices until the date of the elections is proclaimed by the Minister of Corporate Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the opening of all 22 617 voting stations this Saturday and Sunday between 8am and 5pm provides the most convenient opportunity for voters to ensure they are ready to participate in this year’s elections which are scheduled to take place between mid-May and mid-August," the IEC said.

"As always, the Electoral Commission is hoping as many new voters as possible will join the existing 25.6 million registered voters to boost the voters’ roll above its current level of about 75 percent of the eligible voting population. To significantly increase the current voters’ roll will require a large number of young first-time voters to register this weekend - statistics show that approximately 80 percent of the 8 million eligible voters who are not currently registered are younger than 30."

It said that over 3 million South African voters visited their voting stations during the March registration weekend to register for the first time, to re-register and to update their registration and address details. This included almost 700 000 new voters. It is hoped at least a similar number will register this weekend.

"The Electoral Commission is also making a special plea to all existing registered voters to use this weekend to visit their voting station to update and confirm their address details.

"The Constitutional Court found in November last year that a voter’s address or sufficient particularities of their place of residence were essential to ensure that the voter is registered in the correct voting district," the IEC said.

"The Electoral Commission has subsequently embarked on a number of initiatives to update and confirm the address details for voters to enhance the quality of the voters’ roll – including urging all voters to confirm and update their address details during the registration weekend in March and this coming weekend."

Existing voters can check whether additional address information is required for them by SMSing their ID number to 32810 (at a cost of R1). They will receive an SMS back with the name of the voting station where they are currently registered. Voters for whom incomplete address details are currently captured will receive a second SMS urging them to visit their voting station to update their details.

Voters can also check their status by dialing *120*432# or online (www.elections.org.za) or call the Contact Centre on 0800 11 8000 between 7am and 9pm.

"In order to register or to update registration and address details voters must complete a REC1 voter registration application form and present it in person at the voting station for the voting district in which they ordinarily reside," the IEC said.

To help speed up the registration process, an electronic PDF format of the REC 1 form will be available from tomorrow on www.elections.org.za which voters can complete online, print a copy and bring it with them to their voting station.

"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."

In municipal elections, voters may only vote where they are registered and voters are reminded that it is a criminal offence to knowingly 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 between 7am and 9pm
  • Dial *120*432#
  • Use the Voting Station Finder App on www.elections.org.za

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

The Electoral Commission said it is grateful to the Department of Home Affairs which will once again open its offices between 8am and 5pm over the weekend to allow citizens to collect their IDs or to obtain temporary ID certificates in order to register. Voters will need an ID or a Smart Card ID to vote. 

"Finally, the Electoral Commission is appealing to residents of all areas to allow citizens to register unimpeded so that they can exercise their right to vote.

"Since the first registration weekend in March, the Electoral Commission has been engaging with stakeholders in all communities where voter registration was disrupted previously to ensure that all eligible voters are given an equal opportunity to participate in the upcoming municipal elections," it said.