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IEC

Electoral Commission calls on South Africans living abroad to register to vote

25 January 2024

The Electoral Commission is pleased to announce that over 18 469 South African citizens living in 101 countries around the world have started registering to vote using the newly launched online registration portal system. The system has been operational since December 2023.

The countries with the most people registering online include the United Kingdom (5938), the Netherlands (1844), Germany (746), the United States (821), Ireland (675), United Arab Emirates (1068), China (515), Australia (588), New Zealand (314), Cuba (293), Portugal (284) and Belgium (280). In the African continent, South Africans have begun to register in 28 countries, including Mauritius (316), Lesotho (224) Namibia (148), Botswana (170), Zambia (96), Zimbabwe (77), Kenya (73), Ghana (45) and Tanzania (40).

The Electoral Commission has enabled an online registration facility for the first time to allow South Africans outside the country to easily register for the 2024 National Elections. In the 2019 elections, about 21 000 South Africans voted abroad, with 7 023 of them being newly registered. The Commission hopes that the introduction of an online registration system will attract the majority of citizens from abroad.

We take this opportunity to thank everyone who has heeded our call to use the online system and appeal to citizens living outside the country who are eligible to vote to take advantage of the upcoming overseas voter registration weekend on 26, 27, and 28 January 2024.

Citizens living abroad must register as voters either online or in person at their nearest South African mission. South African high commissions, embassies, and consulates will be open during working hours. Eligible voters are encouraged to check with their nearest mission on the registration dates and times. Registration requires a South African identity document as well as a South African passport.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) informed us that three missions, Israel, Sudan, and Ukraine, have been temporarily closed due to security concerns. We will take the best possible steps to ensure that everyone participates in this democratic process. We encourage citizens in these countries to register through our online portal.

A special two-day voter registration event for South African citizens abroad will take place between 26 and 28 January 2024, depending on the configuration of weekend days. For example, in countries where the weekend is a Saturday and Sunday, the registration event will take place on Saturday 27 January, and Sunday 28 January 2024. In countries where Friday and Saturday are weekends, the two special days designated will be Friday 26 January, and Saturday 27 January 2024.

The Commission wishes to advise South Africans who are already registered to vote – either on the national or international segment of the voters’ roll, to check their registration status and to update their voters’ roll address if they intend to vote abroad in the 2024 National Elections.

We have put in place all necessary measures to ensure that no one is left behind and that all citizens vote in the 2024 National Election. The upcoming 2024 National Elections offer an important opportunity for all South Africans to have their voices heard, regardless of geographic location.

Online registration process:

The online registration process for South Africans abroad is as follows:

Visit the IEC website: Go to the official website of the Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa at www.elections.org.za.
Select 'Register to vote abroad': Navigate to the 'Register to vote abroad' menu item on the website homepage.
Complete the online form: Fill out the online registration form with accurate and up-to-date information. This typically includes personal details, contact information, proof of citizenship, and the selection of the South African mission abroad where the citizen intends to vote.
Provide supporting documents: Upload the necessary supporting documents, including copies of the South African identity document and passport. Ensure that these documents comply with the specified requirements.
Verify and submit: Review information carefully to ensure accuracy and once satisfied, submit the online registration form.
Confirmation and follow-up: After submission, a confirmation email acknowledging the registration will be issued. The IEC may ask you for any additional information or clarification.

We extend our gratitude to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for its ongoing assistance in ensuring that we reach as many citizens living in other countries as possible, as well as for allowing the Commission to use all embassies as voter registration stations. A full list of South Africa’s missions is available on the website of DIRCO at https://www.dirco.gov.za/webmissions/index.html.

The Commission further pleads with businesses and organisations around the world to encourage their South African employees to register during this registration weekend. In the same breath, we also call upon members of the media to assist us by spreading the word all over the world.

Voter registration is the first crucial step towards making your voice heard in the 2024 National Elections. It ensures you are included in the national voters’ roll, enabling you to cast your vote in the upcoming elections.

Register to vote, either online today or in person at your South African mission on 26 to 28 January 2024, and let your voice echo across borders, resonating with the spirit of democracy that binds us all. It’s your democracy, own it!

ISSUED BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION


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