Final opportunity for voters to register

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pretoria - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will this weekend open their 22 263 voting stations for the final registration drive which it hopes will attract 1.1 million people.

The voter registration which takes place on Saturday and Sunday throughout the country will be the final opportunity for new voters to register and for registered voters to change their voting station ahead of the 2014 national and provincial elections.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to announce the election date shortly after the registration weekend.

IEC's Chairperson Pansy Tlakula’s appealed to unregistered voters to use the weekend to register and verify their details.

“Our country needs you – the future of our democracy is in your hands," she told a media briefing on Thursday, adding that it was all systems go from their side.

At present, 24 112 414 voters representing 76.7% of eligible voters are registered, but the IEC is hoping for 1 million more during this weekend’s final registration drive to take overall registration level to 80%.

The Eastern Cape, Free State and Northern Cape have the highest registration percentages – all at 80% and over, while Gauteng has the lowest with 72.1%.

Just over 1 million new voters were added to the voters’ roll after the last registration weekend in November 2013, and a further 1.5 million voters updated their registration details.

For citizens living abroad, Tlakula has encouraged them to ensure that their applications are received by close of business this Friday.

To date, she says, they have received 3 703 applications for registrations from about 70 missions.

"We are still receiving more each day and processing these. The highest number of applications has come from London, Dubai and Cuba," she said, adding that registration at correctional services across the country was also going smooth.

The IEC has set aside three days for inmates to register at 235 correctional facilities across the country – which started on Wednesday until Friday.

Tlakula said forecasts of poor weather this weekend are a possible threat to registration turnout, but she said they have put in place plans to help affected voting stations.

With regards to the 'hot spots' communities which have seen outbreaks in violent public protests, Tlakula said they have partnered and engaged with security forces political parties and community leaders to ensure all South Africans can exercise their right.

"I can assure that all our voting stations will be open from 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday for people to register."

To help attract the voters and reach the set target, Tlakula said they launched a communication campaign using "celebrities" to share their reasons why the youth should register and vote.

"Further we have collaborated with some radio stations through the country who will be broadcasting outside some voting stations on Saturday and Sunday."

To check if you are registered, you can send an SMS with your ID number to 32810; check your voter registration details online at  www.elections.org.za; or call 0800 11 800 toll-free from a landline; or check at your local Municipal Electoral Office during office hours until Sunday.  – SAnews.gov.za

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