South Africans are heading to the polls on the 1st of November 2021. Now is the best time to have a say in how your local government operates. To help you navigate these elections, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how to register to vote in South African elections.
How to Register To Vote
If you haven’t registered to vote before, you won’t be able to vote at by-elections, local elections, or national elections. So you will need to register to vote. You can register to vote at 16, but you can only vote when you’re 18. To register, follow the steps listed below:
Step 1: Visit Your Local IEC Office
To register to vote, you’ll need to visit your local IEC office. You can find a list of local IEC offices by clicking here.
Step 2: Complete A Registration Form
When you are at your IEC office, you will receive a registration form to fill in, or a staff member will fill in the form on your behalf. You will also need to provide proof of address when registering.
Step 3: Provide Identification
To be able to register, you’ll need to provide legitimate identification. The IEC will only accept a green barcoded ID book, Smart Card ID, or a valid temporary Identification Certificate issued by home affairs.
Step 4: Check Your Registration Status
After completing the form, you’ll receive a barcoded sticker or receipt. This is proof of your application. It doesn’t mean that you are registered. Instead, you will only know if your registration is successful in 7 business days.
You can check to see if your registration is complete by:
- Sending an SMS of your ID number to 32810. This costs R1.
- Downloading the IEC mobile app and inputting your ID number.
- Visiting your local IEC office to see if your registration is complete.
Can I Register To Vote Online?
What Documents Do I Need to Apply for Registration?
You will need to provide a valid identity document in the form of either a green, Barcoded ID book, Smart ID card, or Temporary Identification Certificate, which you receive from home affairs.
You will also need an acceptable form of proof of address, in the form of a:
- Rates, Water, Electricity Account
- Medical Aid Statement
- Bank Statement
- Cell Phone Account
- Traffic Fine
- UIF Payment Documents
- Funeral Policy, Life Insurance, Health Insurance, or Investment Statement
- Retail Account Statement
If you don’t have one of these documents, you can fill in a police affidavit and have it certified at a police station.
How Do I Know if I am Successfully Registered?
You can check your registration at your local IEC office, via SMS or by downloading the IEC app. You will then need to provide your ID number to see if you are successfully registered.
If you have moved since you last voted, you can also check if you are still in the same voting district or whether the IEC has your correct details by using one of these mechanisms.
How to Register to Vote South Africa Abroad
If you would like to register to vote abroad, you will need to visit one of South Africa’s120 South African foreign missions during office hours. You can find a list of these foreign missions here.
When visiting the foreign mission, you will need to provide your South African green barcoded ID or Smart Card in addition to your South African passport.
You will then follow the steps outlined by the consultant assisting with your registration.
How to Vote in South African Elections Abroad
You can only vote abroad in the National Elections as outlined in Electoral Act 73 of 1998.
If you’d like to vote, you will need to complete the following steps:
Step 1: Check Your Registration Status
If you would like to vote while abroad, first check your registration details. You can only do this online by following the link to the IEC platform.
The system may prompt you to re-register because your voting district has changed. Ignore this message.
Step 2: Notify the IEC of Your Intention to Vote
Next, complete a VEC10 form within 15 days of the election being proclaimed. You can submit this form online.
Step 3: Vote
You will then receive a confirmation letter of the date you should vote; you can only vote on this day.
Registration and Voting Dates
You can register to vote on the 18th and 19th of September 2021. On these dates, all voting stations will be open between 08:00 and 17:00. Voting will then be held on the 1st of November 2021.
To minimise fraud, the IEC has subdivided South Africa into voting districts. You can find your voting station by visiting the IEC voting finder portal here. To see if your voting district has changed, you can input your street address into the search bar.
How to Apply for a Special Vote
You may be eligible for a special vote if you cannot go to a voting station on the 1st of November 2021. Those who are physically unable to visit a voting station on election day because of pregnancy, infirmity, disability, or other circumstances can apply for a special vote by:
- Registering for a special vote online.
- SMSing 32249 with your ID number.
- Filling in an MEC35 form and having it hand-delivered to an IEC office.
How to Check Special Vote Application Status Online
During voting periods, you can check your special voting status online by visiting the IEC special voting portal here: https://www.elections.org.za/pw/OnlineForms/Special-Vote-Online-Application-Check-Requirements
Alternatively, you can wait for SMS confirmation about your special voting status.