Special voting underway

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pretoria - South Africans who will not be able to vote on Wednesday will cast their votes over the next two days.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) those who qualify include voters with physical disabilities, pregnant women, those absent on government service abroad, as well as election officials and security force members on election duty.

Those who will be temporarily out of the country on Wednesday for either business or pleasure also qualify. But only people who are registered to cast a special vote will be allowed to do so.

Where applications for special votes have been approved, IEC officials will visit such voters on 20 or 21 April at the address indicated on their application to enable them to cast their votes.

Special voters can also submit their applications on 20 April between 9am and 5pm at the office of their Presiding Officer in the voting district in which they are registered.

According to the IEC, the Commission will not automatically visit places such as hospitals or retirement homes where a person may be confined, voters had to apply to be visited to enable them to cast their votes.

According to the IEC, officials are expected to clearly identify themselves and the purpose of their visit.

"They will ask the voter for his/her South African green bar-coded identity document (ID Book) or valid Temporary Identity Certificate and once they are satisfied that the person visited is the person who applied to cast a special vote, they will mark the voter's left thumbnail with indelible ink and stamp the identity document with the official IEC stamp."

The voter will then be given a National and a Provincial Ballot Paper and be allowed to vote in secret before the ballots are placed in unmarked, sealed envelopes.

Special votes are counted on Election Day with the votes cast at the voting station.