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IEC Simplifies Overseas Voting Process for South Africans

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IEC

IEC

South Africans who find themselves overseas during an election season have received clarifications from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) regarding the voting procedures. In a press briefing held on Monday, the Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer, Sy Mamabolo, outlined the steps non-resident voters need to follow to ensure their votes are counted in upcoming elections.

The Commission has made it clear that South African citizens registered on a specific country’s segment of the voters’ roll do not need to intimate the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to vote outside the country. “The law assumes that they will be voting at the diplomatic mission of registration,” the Electoral Commission explained.

This eases the process for voters abroad, cutting down the red tape and making democratic participation more accessible. However, there are stipulations for those not registered on the overseas voters’ list.

Addressing journalists in Pretoria, Mamabolo addressed the requirements for those registered in different locations. He stated, “Those registered elsewhere, including locally registered voters who intend to vote at a particular diplomatic mission outside the country, must give notice to the CEO of their intention to vote in that country.”

For these voters, the Commission has provided a streamlined process to submit their intentions. “The notice to vote out of the country may be submitted as of today until 22 April 2024. An online notification facility (VEC10) is available on the Commission’s website,” informed Mamabolo.

Additionally, Mamabolo indicated that special voting procedures would be designated at the diplomatic missions either on Friday, 17 May 2024, or Saturday, 18 May 2024. He assured that the exact date would be sensitive to the cultural and religious calendars of the host nations. “The exact date for each diplomatic mission will be determined considering the host country’s dominant religious and cultural practices.”

Finally, the Commission reiterated a standing electoral guideline for those who wish to vote outside of their home district within South Africa on the Election Day set for 29 May 2024. Voters are typically expected to cast their ballots at their registered voting stations, but the Commission acknowledges there may be exceptions.

“However, in the event a voter intends to be in a different voting district on voting day, such a voter must notify the Commission of their intended absence from their voting district and the voting station where they wish to cast the vote,” the Commission declared. Prospective voters will have a notification portal at their disposal for this purpose, set to launch shortly, with the deadline for such notifications being 17 May 2024.

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