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By Martin Williams

Councillor at City


Please register to vote, correctly, or lose out

A vote is precious, especially in South Africa where so many have suffered and died to ensure that every adult citizen has the right to vote.


Please register to vote.

If you are registered, please ensure your address accords with your voting station.

If not, election officials may remove you from the voters’ roll.

That would be unfortunate because a vote is precious, especially in South Africa where so many have suffered and died to ensure that every adult citizen has the right to vote.

You may cast your ballot only at the voting station applicable to your correct address. In recent weeks, we have been conducting a campaign called GOTOR, get out the online registration, after the Electoral Commission
(IEC) introduced a facility whereby people can register online as first-time voters.

Until recently, voters who were already registered could change their address online. But citizens who were not registered had to complete the process in person.

During telecanvassing we have come across folks who say they have been voting at such-and-such place for many years without problems.

Be warned. There is reason to believe the IEC could be more strict than in the past for various reasons, including brushes with the Constitutional Court.

In 2018, the ConCourt gave the IEC until 30 November 2019 to have on the national voters’ roll all addresses that were reasonably available after 17 December 2003.

The 1 November local government elections will be the first test of that ConCourt order. The IEC will want to be on its best behaviour, especially after recent suggestions of favouritism.

Section 11 of the Electoral Act does not merely give the chief electoral officer the authority to remove incorrectly registered voters.

The officer must: “(a) Change the registration details of a voter, if the chief electoral officer is satisfied that the
details of that voter as reflected in the voters’ roll are incorrect or have changed; or “(b) Deregister a voter, if the chief electoral officer is satisfied that that voter does not qualify or no longer qualifies for registration.”

Reading this together with Section 12, election officials may be ruthless with people who are registered at the wrong voting station. It’s not clear whether the IEC has the capacity to do all the cross-checking required to verify
addresses.

At the time of writing, the commission was reportedly struggling with a backlog of more than 20,000 verifications deriving mainly from the GOTOR campaign. You submit a scan of your ID, they check it.

Yet it would be unwise to pitch up at the same voting station as last time hoping that the IEC won’t notice you are incorrectly registered.

To do so knowingly could amount to fraud.

Political parties have access to voters’ rolls. They also have databases. Within the confines of the Protection of Personal Information Act, they contact voters to verify details and assist.

If a person is incorrectly registered, we advise them to visit registertovote.co.za and follow simple guidelines.
Find your voting station at maps.elections.org.za/vsfinder/.

You can register in person at your voting station this weekend, from 8am to 5pm. Take your SA ID. Wear a mask. Register correctly.

Help save your city.

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Columns Local/municipal elections voters