IEC on schools drive to register young voters

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cape Town – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has this week embarked on a voter registration drive at schools to register young people to vote in next year’s election.

This follows concerns that just 10% of those aged 18 and 19 have registered to vote.

Addressing the Cape Town Press Club at 6 Spin Street today, IEC Western Cape electoral officer Courtney Sampson said the commission is struggling to get teens to register to vote in next year’s elections and hoped that the drive would result in more youth registering to vote.

Those aged 16 can register to vote, even though they can only vote when they are 18.

“We would like to see this (2014 elections) as a celebration, as a celebration of born frees,” said Sampson.

He said the IEC is this week hosting a schools democracy week -- in partnership in the Department of Basic Education -- and hoped that this would help increase the voter’s roll.

A number of activities are also scheduled to take place after school, including registration drives, debates and town-hall style interactive sessions.

To register to vote pupils must bring their green ID to school with them this week.

Statistics provided by Sampson on the number of voter registrations as of yesterday, showed that just 10% or 190 000 youths aged 18 and 19 -- out of a voting population of 1.9 million for this age group have registered so far for the 2014 elections.

Voter registrations are even lower for the Western Cape. Voter registrations as of yesterday, showed that just 5% or 10 200 youths in the province aged 18 and 19 – out of a voting population of 189 300 were registered.
In comparison 52% (43% in the Western Cape) or 4.9 million youths aged 20 and 29 had registered to vote and 85% (81% in the Western Cape) of those aged 30 to 39 had registered. –

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