The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) urges all South Africa’s eligible voters to visit their voting stations during the weekend of 10 and 11 March as part of a national campaign to update the voters’ roll in preparation for the 2019 elections.
According to an official statement released, all 22 612 voting stations around the country will open for the public between 8am and 5pm during the weekend to assist new voters to register, allow already registered voters who have moved since they registered to re-register in their correct voting districts, and allow registered voters whose address details are not on the voters’ roll to provide this information.
The IEC has made an early start to the preparations for the 2019 elections, which are expected to take place between May and August 2019.
Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, said, “This registration weekend is a milestone towards the culmination of a two-year project to obtain addresses for all registered voters. It is an opportunity to ensure that voters are registered in the correct voting districts. 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.”
Mamabolo also said that over the past two years, the IEC has made significant progress in updating addresses on the voters’ roll, by:
• increasing the proportion of complete addresses from 34 per cent of registered voters in March 2016 to 75 per cent of registered voters currently;
• reducing the proportion of incomplete or generic addresses from 34 per cent in March 2016 to 14 per cent at present, and
• reducing the percentage of registered voters without any recorded address from 32 per cent to approximately 11 per cent.
This has resulted in the following voters’ roll statistics (see image below):
The IEC has sourced addresses using various initiatives, including the following:
• a review of records, files and archives to check and capture all addresses provided by voters over the past 20 years;
• collecting addresses during the 2016 municipal elections from voters who did not have addresses on the voters roll;
• undertaking field work ahead of registration weekends for by-elections. Where necessary, this has included moving voters found to be registered in the incorrect voting districts as provided for by section 12(1)(d) of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998.
• obtaining and using, where possible, address data from other state sources such as Stats SA, Sassa, Telkom, the Post Office and the Department of Home Affairs, and
• launching an on-line facility for registered voters with internet access to review and/ or provide their address via http://www.elections.org.za, in October 2017. This was accompanied by a national advertising initiative.
According to Mamabolo, even having done all of the above, the IEC still does not have addresses for 2,8 million voters.
“We have a further 3,5 million addresses that are currently classified as ‘incomplete’ or ‘generic’. This category requires further analysis to ascertain whether any further details are available.
“The voters’ roll is the bedrock of electoral integrity. Its quality is the foundation for credible, free and fair elections. This includes making sure all eligible voters are registered in the correct segment of the voters’ roll. The requisite quality of the voters’ roll depends on the support and participation of voters and all stakeholders.”
He further called upon all South Africans to ensure the success of the weekend. “The voters’ roll is a national asset. It requires constant maintenance, constant updating, and constant checking to retain its currency and its quality.
“If you are active on social media, tell your followers about the importance of having an accurate and up-to-date voters’ roll. Urge them to check their registration details on 10 and 11 March 2018. Encourage all new and first-time voters to register during that weekend. South Africa citizens aged 16 and older and in possession of an official ID can register as voters.”
In support of the drive, the IEC has launched a national advertising campaign under the slogan ‘Let’s address the voters’ roll!’ The campaign includes a television advert in which well-known South African celebrities urge all citizens to update the voters’ roll.
The Contact Centre (0800 11 8000) is active from Mondays to Fridays during office hours to assist voters to find their correct voting station and to answer any queries. Registered voters can also SMS their ID numbers to 32810 to receive an SMS containing the address of their voting station (charged at R1). The online facility (available at https://www.elections.org.za/MyIEC/Account/Register) remains open for registered voters with access to the internet to update and review their addresses online. These voters are also being urged to update their details before the end of May 2018.
Voters visiting their voting station should take a copy of their bar-coded ID book, smart card ID or temporary ID certificate with them. They will be assisted to complete a registration form providing the home addresses at which they ordinarily reside, thus allowing the IEC to place them in the correct voting district. Proof of residence is not required.
“We are ready to open all the voting stations in March to make it easy and convenient for all voters to update their registration details on the voters’ roll. But we need voters to show up and make use of the opportunity.”
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