Special votes: all you need to know

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

With the General Elections coming up on Wednesday, 29 May 2024, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has detailed how the electorate can apply for special votes.

A special vote allows a registered voter, who can't vote at their voting station on Election Day, to apply to vote on a predetermined day before Election Day.

To qualify for a special vote, you must be unable to visit your local voting station on voting day because you are pregnant, infirm or have another disability that prevents you from visiting a voting station on Election Day.

You may also be eligible for a special vote if for other reasons, such as work.

Special votes can either be cast at home (where IEC officials visit you at your residence) or at a voting station.

Special votes and home visits for this year's general elections will take place on 27 and 28 May. The IEC says the closing date to apply for special votes is 3 May.

How to apply

To begin the online application for a special vote, visit the IEC website on https://www.elections.org.za/. Then navigate to the “Voters” tab and under the tab, click on “Apply for a special vote” in the middle column.

You can apply if you:

  • Are a registered voter.
  • Have a valid South African identity document (green, barcoded ID book; smartcard ID or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate).

To check that you're registered and to find out where you're registered, you can:

  • Check your voter registration status.SMS your ID number to 32810, or
  • Call the IEC's contact centre on 012 622 5700.

By law, you can apply for a special vote if you:

  • Can’t travel to your voting station because you are physically infirm, disabled or pregnant, or
  • Can’t vote at your voting station on Election Day.

How to apply for a special vote at your voting station

If you can’t vote at your voting station on Election Day, you can apply to cast a special vote at your voting station on the predetermined date only, as per the election timetable, in one of the following ways:

  • Using the IEC's secured online application form.
  • By SMSing your identity number to 32249 (R1.00 per SMS). (For special vote at a voting station only.)
  • By visiting your local IEC office (not the national or provincial offices) and submitting a MEC 35 form. Forms can only be hand-delivered (no emails or faxes accepted), but someone else can deliver your completed form on your behalf.

Make an appointment at your local IEC office

If you can’t apply for a special vote online, you can do it in person at your local IEC office. If you want to apply for a special vote at your home, you can send a relative or spouse to apply on your behalf.

You first need to make an appointment. You can do that by calling your local IEC office.

After you have made an appointment, you can visit your local IEC office during the operating hours of Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

A the local IEC office, you will need to present the MEC 35 form. You can download the form online or you can request this form at the IEC office.

How to check special vote application status

After you’ve submitted your special vote application, you can review the status of your application online via SMS or by calling the IEC call centre.

Check special vote application status online

Visit the IECs website. On the home page, click the “I want to” Tab and then click “Check the status of special vote application”.

From there, you will be directed to the special vote status check. You will need to select the election you’re applying for and enter your ID number.

You will then be redirected to a page that will display the status of your special vote application.

Check special vote application status via IEC

You can also call the IEC call centre on 0800 11 8000 and follow the prompts to get information about your special vote application status. – SAnews.gov.za