South Africans appreciate the ability and freedom to vote. But, not everyone can make it to the voting station on election day; for that reason, the IEC has introduced a special voting system. The system allows voters to vote on predetermined days either at a voting station or from their homes.
What Is A Special Vote?
Special votes are votes that are completed by special ballot on the days preceding election day. They enable those who can’t make it to their local voting station to still participate in the elections and express their voice.
Who Can Apply for A Special Vote
Not everyone is eligible for a special vote. To qualify for a special vote, you must be unable to visit your local voting station on the voting day because you’re pregnant, infirm, or have another disability that prevents you from visiting a voting station on election day. You may also be eligible if for other reasons, like work, you can’t visit the voting station on election day.
You will also only be able to apply for a special vote if you are above the age of 18, a registered voter, and have a valid South African ID – either a green, barcoded ID, Smart ID or temporary Identification Certificate issued by home affairs.
How To Apply for a Special Vote Online
The IEC has made applying for a special vote particularly easy. Voters have until 4 October 2021 to complete their special vote application, after which they will receive confirmation that their application is either approved or declined.
Visit the IEC Website
To begin the online application for a special vote, visit the IECs website. Then navigate to the “Voters” tab and under the tab, click on “Apply for a special vote” in the middle column. Alternatively, you can click here.
Complete The Relevant Information
Once you have been redirected to the special voting online application form, you will need to input your details, including your name, surname, ID number and residential address. You will also need to enter your phone number and email address.
You will also need to confirm a declaration before you can click submit.
How To Apply for a Special Vote in Person
If you can’t apply for a special vote online, you can do it in person at your local IEC office. If you want to apply for a special vote at your home, you can send a relative or spouse to apply on your behalf. To do this, follow the steps below.
Make an Appointment at Your Local IEC Office
You first need to make an appointment. You can do that by calling your local IEC office. You will find a list of local IEC offices here, or you can download a complete list of local IEC offices through this link.
Visit Your Local IEC Office
After you have made an appointment, you can visit your local IEC office during the operating hours of Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.
Submit an MEC 35 Form
Then, when you’re at the local IEC office, you will need to present the MEC 35 form. You can download the MEC 35 form here, or you can request this form at the IEC office.
On this form, you will need to input the information election date, municipality name, and voting district number followed by your personal information, including your name, ID number, email address, residential address, and phone number. Then the official will fill in the part of the document beneath “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.
How To Check Special Vote Application Status
After you’ve submitted your special vote application, you can review the status of your application online, via SMS or by calling the IEC call centre.
Check Special Vote Application Status Online
Visit the IECs website. On the home page, click the “I want to” Tab and then click “Check the status of special vote application”. From there, you will be directed to the special vote status check. You will need to select the election you’re applying for and enter your ID number. You will then be redirected to a page that will display the status of your special vote application.
Check Special Vote Application Status via SMS
To check your special vote application status via SMS you will need to send your 13-digit ID number to 32711. The rate for the SMS is R1. You will then receive an SMS indicating the status of your application.
Check Special Vote Application Status via IEC
You can also call the IECs call centre on 0800 11 8000 and follow the prompts to get information about your special vote application status.
When Does Special Voting Take Place?
Since the South African local government elections have been scheduled to take place on 1 November 2021, special voting will take place on Saturday, 30 October, and Sunday, 31 October, between 7 am and 9 pm.
How Will I Cast My Special Vote?
If your application to receive a special vote is approved, you will receive confirmation. You will then be able to cast your special vote on the special voting days. If you haven’t selected a home visit, you will have to make your way to your voting station on the predetermined dates. From there, officials will scan your ID, mark your thumb with indelible ink, and give you the relevant ballots. You will then cast your vote with an X and place the ballot in a plain white envelope, followed by an envelope marked with your name, surname, and ID number.
Your name will also be marked on the voter’s registration with an SV to indicate you’ve voted by special vote.
If you’ve selected a home visit to make your special vote, IEC officials will visit your home on the predetermined special voting dates.
They’ll scan your ID document, place indelible ink on your thumb and hand you closed ballots.
You will then be able to vote with those ballots, place them in the envelopes, and place them in the ballot box.
The IEC has officials to oversee the process, making it impossible to forge special votes. However, if you’re handed more ballots than what is prescribed for your council – two ballots for metro councils and three ballots for district councils – consider reporting the irregularity to the IEC.