Cut-off today for special vote applications

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pretoria - Voters who will be in hospital or housebound on Election Day have until today to submit their applications to vote at the office of their respective Municipal Electoral Officer.

In terms of the election timetable, the IEC has identified specific dates for voters to cast special votes in the 2009 General Elections.

"Arrangements have been put in place for voters who cannot visit their voting stations due to physical infirmity, disability or pregnancy, to apply for a special vote and if approved they will be visited by voting officers to cast their vote at the address indicated on their VEC 1 form," the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said.

Special voters can also submit their applications on 20 April between 9am and 5pm at the office of their Presiding Officer in the voting district in which they are registered.

"If they find themselves in hospital in a different town or city, they can apply at the Municipal Electoral Office of the town or city in which the hospital is situated," the IEC said.

According to the IEC the Commission will not automatically visit places such as hospitals or retirement homes where a person may be confined, voters have to apply to be visited to enable them to cast their votes.

Applications should be done on a VEC 1 form which can be downloaded from the IEC website, or collected from the Municipal Electoral Office.

Once it has been completed, the form can either be faxed or delivered by hand to the Municipal Electoral Office.

Contact details for municipal electoral offices are available from the IEC call centre which can be called toll free on 0800 11 8000 from a landline.

Where applications for special votes have been approved, IEC officials will visit such voters on 20 or 21 April at the address indicated on their application to enable them to cast their votes.

According to the IEC, officials are expected to clearly identify themselves and the purpose of their visit.

"They will ask the voter for his/her South African green bar-coded identity document (ID Book) or valid Temporary Identity Certificate and once they are satisfied that the person visited is the person who applied to cast a special vote, they will mark the voter's left thumbnail with indelible ink and stamp the identity document with the official IEC stamp."

The voter will then be given a National and a Provincial Ballot Paper and be allowed to vote in secret before the ballots are placed in unmarked, sealed envelopes.

If a voter is outside his/her province where he/she is registered, he/she will only receive a National Ballot Paper.

Special votes are counted on Election Day with the votes cast at the voting station.