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Get ready for the elections

South Africa's fifth general democratic elections will take place next year and many youngsters will get their first chance to vote.

If you are a young adult, planning to vote for the first time, or if you have never chosen to vote, you need to be registered as a voter.

You only have to register once, unless you move or your voting district changes.

To register, you must be a South African citizen, at least 16 years old and have a green, bar-coded ID book.

You can apply for registration at any time, however, registration weekends are advertised by government in the months leading up to the elections.

During these weekends, you can register at your voting station in the voting district where you live.

To find out which voting station you have to register at, visit the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) website, www.elections.org.za, and use their online voting station finder to get a map of your voting station.

You can also apply for registration at your local Municipal Electoral Office during office hours, but phone first to arrange a time. The Springs office is at the Springs Civic Centre, Ground Floor, Room 19, in Plantation Road. The contact numbers are 011 999 9162.

To be able to vote in a specific election, you must be registered before the election date is proclaimed by the president – this will appear in the Government Gazette. The Voters’ Roll for a specific election closes at 5pm on the day of proclamation.

You need to apply for registration in person and take your South African, green, bar-coded ID book or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) if you don’t have an ID book.

When you apply, go to the voting station or Municipal Electoral Office and fill in an Application for Registration as a Voter form.

Your ID book will be scanned and a bar-coded sticker pasted in your ID book.

This doesn’t mean that you’re registered yet, it only means that you’ve applied for registration and your application must still be processed, which may take up to seven working days.

Re-registering

If your home address has changed, you may need to re-register as your voting station or voting district might have changed.

Check your voter registration details and make a note of your voting station and voting district number.

Go to the IEC voting station finder and search for your current home address. On the map, locate the voting district number (blue digits within the green borders of your district). Compare the voting district number here to your registration details – if they’re not the same, you need to re-register in your new voting district.

Apply for registration in your new voting district at your new voting station during a registration weekend or at your municipal electoral office. Please note that you can’t register at our national or provincial offices, only the municipal electoral offices.

Wait a week and then check your voter registration details again and make sure your voting district and voting station have changed.

You can check your registration details by sending an SMS with your ID number to 32810 or using the IEC voter registration details web page. If your application for registration was successful, you’ll get your registration info, including your voting station details.

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