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The Democratic Alliance petition for more voting stations abroad

The South African legislation identifies embassies, consulates and high commissions as places where voting and registration will take place. This seriously limits access to voting for South Africans abroad, and may result in many being unable to cast their vote. The DA has launched this petition (please click to open petition page) and we strongly encourate you to sign the petition. 

We also strongly encourage you to use the new IEC voter registration portal for those abroad, to register or re-register, regardless of how far from your nearest foreign mission you may be. The reason for this, is to provide the IEC with statistics of the global SA community and to help the lobbying for improved access to voting. 

Click on the map above to find the details of your nearest foreign mission. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via the chat box on the bottom right of your screen. 

OVERSEAS VOTING

1. Register on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Voters Roll.

If you live abroad and you are not yet on the IEC voters roll, you will be able to apply online from 24 October 2023 where you will fill in your personal details and the foreign mission where you wish to vote in 2024. If you are already on the voters roll you will be able to amend your details – for example if you were previously registered to a voting station in SA but have since moved to London, you can amend your address, contact number, and update your voting station to your nearest foreign mission which is based in London. You have until the day before the proclamation, which is the date when the president announces the date of elections to ensure you are registered – don’t leave it until it is too late, if you are hearing this message before 24 October then set a calendar reminder for next week but if it’s already after 24 October then pop online and do it right now!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER OR AMEND YOUR DETAILS!

 

​2. Documents Required

 

In order to vote at a foreign mission in 2024, you will need both a valid ID book or smartcard AND a valid South African passport. Please check the expiry date on your passport and ensure it won’t expire between now and elections! Don’t leave it too late to apply for a new passport or ID as delays can occur and without both of these documents, you cannot vote. For those of you unsure about the loss of citizenship issue, until further notice, the old rules still apply – if you have any questions on this citizenship issue please contact us and we can run through it with you.

 

3. Proclamation

 

The proclamation is when the president announces the date of elections. This is usually on or around the State of the Nation Address, which typically happens early to mid February. Again, you have until the day before the proclamation to register on the IEC Voters Roll. On the day of proclamation, the voters roll closes and you cannot be added on thereafter. The date of the election can be anytime between May to August although it typically happens around May or June. Again, a reminder to check your passport will be valid. Overseas voting typically takes place *TEN DAYS to TWO WEEKS before election day in South Africa. This is to allow for sufficient time for the votes to reach SA and be counted because back in 2014 it was just one week prior and some foreign mission votes did not arrive in time to be counted.

 

4. Overseas votes are considered Special Votes

 

We will only receive one ballot for the national vote – this is for who you wish to represent you in parliament – either a party or independent candidate . Those abroad do not get the provincial ballot.

 

5. VEC10 Form

 

There has been a slight change due to the recent IEC amendment bill regarding who needs to submit a VEC10 form.

Going forward not everyone abroad will need to submit it. Shortly after the date of elections has been announced, the IEC will announce when the (10-15 day) window period will be for people to submit their VEC10 form.

 

Those who register or amend their details to show their voting station as being abroad will NOT need to submit a VEC10 form however those who reside in SA but will be abroad at the time of voting or those who are abroad but will be in another country at the time of voting, can submit a VEC10 form online via the IEC website to notify the IEC to vote at a foreign mission which is not their usual or registered voting station. If you are already registered but you have an old voting station assigned to your name, then its important to update your details from 24 October onwards, otherwise you will need to submit a VEC10 form.

 

If your details are not showing the correct voting station on the IEC voters roll and/or you do not submit the VEC10 form within the *10 to 15-day window period then you will NOT be allowed to vote in 2024.

 

6. Voter Turnout

 

Understandably for many of us abroad, it is a challenge to get to our nearest foreign mission due to the distance and that it is not a public holiday for us.  Many people have to take a day off work, make arrangements for childcare and often this comes with a cost and may also include significant travel and accommodation costs, for some this may be a few hour train journey and for others even an international flight. It might be worth putting a little bit aside each month to help cover your cost. Now, I implore you to see this as an investment and part of your personal contribution towards driving change in SA. I fully understand that some of you may feel frustrated about the cost and effort for your one vote and compare it to thousands of other votes back home for one or more parties that you do not support. And this may leave you questioning whats the point and why should you bother?

 

In 2019 there were 39,000 overseas registrations but only 19,000 actually turned out to vote. Depending on the total number of people who vote in the election, based on previous years which have had a considerably lower voter turnout, one seat in parliament typically equated to around 50,000 – 55,,000 votes. As there is currently a huge drive towards voter education and registration on home soil, should the overall number of voters be much higher, it could mean that perhaps 60,000 or even more votes are needed for one seat. If you wish to contribute towards the political landscape at national level, please ensure you vote and speak to everyone in your network about the importance of voting.

 

7. Voting Day

 

Depending on how far away you are from your nearest voting station, please consider travel and queuing times. Some voting stations are much quieter and therefore quicker however at busier ones like London you can expect to queue for some hours so I would strongly suggest planning around the likelihood that you may require the whole day or even an overnight stay. And ensure you have sufficient food and beverages with you should you need to queue for a few hours and if you’ve parked your car, ensure you can add time to the parking via an app, without any restrictions if need be.

 

 

When you enter the foreign mission, an IEC representative will check your documents and look for you on the voters roll to mark your name off. You will be issued a ballot paper which MUST BE STAMPED ON THE BACK IN FRONT OF YOU. If the ballot paper does not have this stamp then it cannot be counted. And you will also be given two different envelopes. You will be given a pen and shown to the voting booths where you can make your mark by placing an X on the allocated mark next to the party or individual candidate of your choice. You will then place your ballot paper inside a blank envelope, this is to ensure that your vote remains anonymous during the counting process. You will then place the blank envelope inside another envelope which requires you to put your details on the front of it. This is for statistics and to ensure only one vote per ID number/name on the voters roll is counted. Lastly you will place your ballot, contained within the two envelopes, in a ballot box before exiting the building. If you accidentally spoil your ballot paper, return to the desk to be issued a new one, and ensure you follow the instructions to mark your X within the lines indicated. Your thumb will also be marked with ink to indicate that you have voted.

 

If for any reason you need assistance whilst inside the foreign mission, you can ask if there are any party representatives to assist you – for example if they cannot find your name on the voters roll or if you have any issues with a pre-marked or unstamped ballot etc. Not all foreign missions may have election monitors or party representatives as this is driven by volunteers. If you would like to consider being a party representative or election monitor, please contact us.

 

8. Bagging and counting of votes

The ballot boxes will be emptied and the envelopes containing the votes will be placed into diplomatic bags that are then sealed. These will be dispatched to SA for counting. The counting phase is a two-step process. First they note your details from the outer envelope which is removed and the blank envelope is placed back in the bag and sent to the counting station where the blank envelope is removed and your ballot is counted. Therefore, your vote remains anonymous.

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