South Africa: IEC Urges Eligible Voters to Go and Register to Vote

It’s all systems go for this weekend’s Voter Registration Weekend. The Electoral Commission announced the 18-19 weekend as the Voter Registration Weekend.

Thousands of eligible voters are expected to go and register with the Electoral Commission (IEC) to vote in next year’s general elections.

According to the IEC, all 23 296 voting stations will be open between 8am and 5pm.

Young people, especially those who are eligible to vote, are encouraged to go out in their numbers to register to vote so they can exercise their democratic right.

The Electoral Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, urged all young people of South Africa to take advantage of the registration weekend.

“The Electoral Commission declares its readiness to conduct a general registration weekend as part of the programme for the preparations for the 2024 National and Provincial Elections,” he said.

Mamabolo said over the two days, 18 and 19 November, they will welcome eligible citizens at 23,296 registration stations across the country.

Registration stations will operate between 08h00 and 17h00 on both days.

“Opening of all registration stations this weekend provides equal opportunity to all South Africans to access the voter registration process. Registration weekends as a modality of registration provides us by far the greatest registration yield in comparison with other methods.

“Therefore, we approach this weekend with a measure of expectation that this weekend will once again provide us significant registration activity,” Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said the recently released Census 2022 results indicate that South Africa’s population has grown to 62 million inhabitants, with an estimated 39.7 million voting age population.

“The voters’ roll currently stands at 26.2 million representing 66 percent of the estimated voting age population. We are approaching this registration weekend informed by the national imperative to increase the coverage of the voters’ roll in all dimensions.

“We pertinently wish to indicate that lease agreements pertaining to permanent voting stations have been signed and concluded. Of these voting stations, 62 per cent are schools, 9.7 per cent are places of worship and the balance of 28 per cent include all other categories such as community halls and other municipal infrastructure,” Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said there are a further 959 temporary voting stations across the country. The majority of temporary stations are found in the province of Gauteng at 204, followed by the Free State at 180 and Limpopo at 150.

“Procurement processes in relation to the provision of temporary infrastructure have also been concluded. The institutionalization of temporary stations ensures that the electoral services reach communities which would otherwise not have the services available.

“They are, therefore, an important mechanism of extending franchise rights to all eligible citizens. There are 33 mobile voting stations,” he said.

Mamabolo said over 69 718 staff have been recruited and trained for this registration weekend, and out of these appointed staff, 53 028 are female and 16 690 are male.

In addition, 35 640 registration staff are under the age of 35, whilst 26 475 are between ages 36 and 50. The balance of 7 603 are 51 years old and above. Crucially, 50 213 of the total staff complement are unemployed persons.

Mamabolo said the Voter Management Devices (VMD’s) are the mainstay technology for the delivery of the registration process.

The VMD’s were first introduced in 2021 and have since undergone significant improvements based on lessons that were evinced by previous electoral events. Accordingly, the operating system for these devices has now been enhanced.

The Electoral Commission says the delivery of essential voter registration materials, including VMD’s, stationery packs, arrow signs and document storage boxes, have been provisioned and delivery completed across all the provinces.

To ensure that all eligible voters are able to register this weekend, the Department of Home Affairs will open its offices to allow citizens to collect and to apply for their identity documents.

The offices will be open between 08h00 and 17h00 on both days on the weekend.

The Commission also encourages registered voters to check the correctness of their details by visiting the registration stations over the weekend.

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