Ricochet News

All systems go for voter registration this weekend

Mar 8, 2018
All systems go for voter registration this weekend

The Electoral Commission says it’s ‘all systems go’ for over 22 000 voting stations throughout South Africa’s to open their doors at 8am on Saturday and Sunday.

"This is expected to make it easy and convenient for eligible voters who either wish to check and confirm their addresses on the voters’ roll, or to register as voters. This general registration weekend goes to the heart of the preparations for the 2019 national and provincial elections," the IEC said.

It said that all 22 609 voting stations around the country will open between 8am and 5pm over the weekend to:

  • Allow registered voters whose address details are not on the voters’ roll to provide this information;
  • Assist new voters to register; and
  • Allow already registered voters who have moved since they registered to re-register in their correct voting district.

"Voting stations will be staffed by over 73 000 election officials, 42% of who are young people (under 35), 64% of who are unemployed, and 73% of who are women."

Find your correct voting station and bring your ID

Voters must visit the voting station in their voting district. It is important to visit the correct voting station. To find your correct voting station, please call the Electoral Commission’s contact centre on 0800 11 8000, or visit http://maps.elections.org.za/vsfinder/ and locate your correct voting station using the Electoral Commission’s Voting Station Finder App. Registered voters can also SMS their ID number to 32810 to receive an SMS containing the address of their current voting station (charged at R1).

Voters are reminded to take their green barcoded identification (ID) book, or smart ID card or valid temporary ID certificate. They will be assisted to complete a registration form providing their home address at which they ordinarily reside which will allow the Electoral Commission to place them in the correct voting district. Proof of residence is NOT required.

Addressing the voters’ roll

This registration weekend is evidence of the Electoral Commission’s early start to its preparations for the 2019 elections. These elections are expected to take place between May and August 2019.

Critically, this registration weekend is a milestone towards the culmination of a two-year project to obtain addresses for all registered voters by June 2018. It is also an opportunity to ensure that voters are registered in the correct voting district segments.

South Africans might recall the ruling of the Constitutional Court in 2016 which gave the Electoral Commission until June 2018 to update the voters’ roll with all available addresses. Over the past two years the Electoral Commission has made significant progress in updating addresses on the voters’ roll including:

  • Increasing the proportion of complete addresses from 34% of registered voters in March 2016 to 75% of registered voters currently;
  • Reducing the proportion of incomplete or generic addresses from 34% in March 2016 to 14%; and
  • Reducing the percentage of registered voters without any recorded address from 32% to approximately 11%.

The following are the current voters’ roll statistics:

Voter’s roll category                                           Number of registered voters*

Complete address                                                19 418 210 (75%)

REC AS address                                                  115 142 (0.4%)

Incomplete/generic address                                 3 551 266 (14%)

No recorded address                                            2 815 160 (11%)

Total registered voters                                          25 899 778

*As at 30 November 2017

Despite its best efforts to collect the addresses of voters, the Electoral Commission does not have addresses for 2.8 million voters. A further 3.5 million addresses are currently classified as “incomplete” or “generic”.

“The voters’ roll is a fundamental safeguard for free and fair elections. It is an instrument for facilitating electoral participation, which is placed at the disposal of political parties for campaign purposes. It serves a functional purpose as a planning tool for accurate provision of electoral material and the avoidance of electoral fraud,” says Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo.

He once again urged all voters to make every effort to visit their voting stations during the weekend of the 10 and 11 March 2018.  “We are ready to open all the voting stations this weekend for all voters to easily update their address details on the voters’ roll, and for first-time voters to register. We need voters to show up and make use of the opportunity,” says Mamabolo.

Extended hours for Electoral Commission’s contact centre and Home Affairs offices

Given the high caller demand to date, the Electoral Commission’s contact centre – which can be reached by dialling 0800 11 8000 - will be open from 8am to 8pm from today, Wednesday 7 March 2018, until Friday, 9 March 2018, and on the weekend from 8am to 5pm both days to assist voters to find their correct voting station and to answer any queries.

The Department of Home Affairs has, as always, offered the Electoral Commission its full cooperation in registration initiatives. It has indicated that it will open its offices from 8am to 5pm on 10 and 11 March 2018 to facilitate the:

  • Collection of green, barcoded ID books and smart ID cards; and
  • Immediate issuance of temporary ID certificates.

Voters can enquire about the status of their ID and smart ID cards without physically visiting Home Affairs offices by simply SMSing the word “ID” followed by your ID number to 32551. Each SMS sent costs R1. They can also call the Home Affairs contact centre number on 0800 60 11 90.

"Finally, we would like to remind voters that the Electoral Commission’s online facility available at https://www.elections.org.za/MyIEC/ remains active for registered voters with access to the internet to check and update or provide their address online, should they be unable to visit their correct voting station this weekend. These voters are also urged to update their details before the end of May 2018."