Overseas special votes conclude

Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has confirmed that overall, special voting abroad proceeded smoothly with no major incidents.

“This is a testament to the meticulous logistics, planning, and execution of those plans across all missions. The Commission expresses gratitude to South Africans who cast special votes in missions around the world,” the IEC said on Sunday.

Special votes are designed to ensure that special measures are put in place to make certain that citizens who would otherwise not be able to vote have opportunities to do so.

Such special measures have been implemented between 17 and 18 May 2024 in 111 South African missions across the world to facilitate voting by around 78 000 citizens.

“Appreciations are also due to voters who in some instances had to endure intemperate weather, wait in queues for extended periods, and travel significant distances. In many stations, a steady flow of voters was reported throughout the day with some missions only closing some two hours beyond their scheduled operating hours.

“Notwithstanding, voters still expressed gratitude on social media and other platforms for the seamless voting experience and level of service they received at stations,” the IEC said.

The mission in London in the United Kingdom is the only voting station that will remain open today, Sunday, 19 May 2024 until 9pm in order to cater for the more than 24 000 voters who are registered and approved to vote at that mission.

READ | South Africans in London urged to cast their vote

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“At this stage, any reports on voter turnout should be treated as unconfirmed. Analysis of the reports would be speculative. The ballots may only be counted after the close of voting stations in the country on 29 May. Only then may the Commission communicate definitively on turnout for the election.

“All ballots cast as well as unused ballot papers from all the 111 missions, will now be transported via a secure channel back to the country. The necessary verifications and counting of the ballots will take place in the presence of representatives of contestants and observers,” the Commission said.

READ | Elections out of the country commence

The arrangements of special votes would not be possible without the support of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the dedication of the staff of the department and heads of missions around the world.

“With overseas voting completed, the Electoral Commission turns its attention to preparations for the in-country special voting which will take place two days before election day on May 27 and 28. There are 1.7 million approved special votes.

“About 653 000 of these are home visit special votes while just over 1 million are voting station special votes. In all, there is at least a single approved special vote in 22 626 of the total 23 292 network of voting stations,” the IEC said.

The IEC has re-emphasised to the general principle that voters may only vote at a voting station at which they are not registered if they have pre-notified the Commission.

The period of pre-notification closed on Friday 17 May 2024.

“With capturing yet to be completed, indications are that at least 387 000 voters have pre-notified the Commission of their intention to vote at another identified voting station. These voters will cast their ballots on 29 May 2024,” the IEC said.

Voters are urged to check their registration details and confirm the location of their correct voting stations ahead of election day by using the following channels: