More than 16 000 expats to vote in General Elections

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pretoria - More than 16 000 South Africans living overseas will be able to vote in the 2009 General Elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has received 19 265 applications from South Africans abroad, of which 17 841 applications were approved.

According to the IEC of the applications approved, 16 240 voters intend to cast a vote on 15 April at the South African mission as indicated on their form.

The voting station with the highest number of voters is London with 7 472 followed by Canberra (Australia) with 1 235, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) with 900, Wellington (New Zealand) with 410, The Hague (The Netherlands) with 378 and Dublin (Ireland) with 360.

Voting stations with the lowest number of voters are Asmara (Eritrea), Suva (Fiji), Ramallah (Palestine), Bujumbura (Burundi) and Trinidad and Tobago (Port of Spain) with only one voter each.

The IEC said of the applications approved, 1 601 South Africans will vote at the office of the Presiding Officer in their voting district on 20 or 21 April before they leave South Africa.

A total of 1 424 applications were rejected mainly due to the applicant not being a registered voter or his/her notification was sent after the deadline.

"Voters had to notify the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to vote and whether they want to apply and cast a special vote on 20 or 21 April in their voting district before they depart South Africa, or if they want to vote at a specified South African foreign mission abroad on 15 April," the IEC said.

Applicants had to complete a VEC 10 form, which was available on the IEC website and South African missions abroad.

The completed form was to be delivered to the Chief Electoral Officer not later than on 27 March.

"Voters who did not notify the Chief Electoral Officer by that date would regrettably not be allowed to apply for and cast a special vote," the IEC said.

Once the VEC 10 form was received, IEC officials verified the registration status of the applicant on the voters' roll and informed the relevant foreign mission or voting station of the status of the applicant on the voters' roll.

Applicants had to be registered voters on the proclamation date for these elections which was 12 February.

According to the IEC South Africans voting at missions abroad must in addition to their South African green bar-coded Identity Document or valid Temporary Identity Certificate produce their passport when they vote.

"Without these documents voting will not be permitted. At the mission, they will also be required to complete an application form for a Special Vote called a VEC 1 form.

"Voting stations at South African missions abroad will be open from 7am until 7pm," the IEC said.

Voting times on 20 and 21 April in South Africa will be from 9am until 5pm.

Persons who have notified the Chief Electoral Officer can now check the status of their application on the IEC website: under Check Status.