Voting abroad set to begin

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pretoria - South Africans living in New Zealand will be the first to cast their votes at 9pm South African time as voting abroad begins.

The first votes in the 2014 national elections will be cast today as voters abroad begin voting at South African missions around the world.

“Some 406 South Africans, who successfully registered to vote at the South African High Commission in Auckland, New Zealand, will be the first to vote when polling opens at 7am on 30 April 2014 – which is 9pm tonight South African time,”  said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Tuesday.

They will be followed by more than 26 000 voters, who applied successfully to cast their ballots at 116 missions around the world over the next 33 hours.

The final votes will be cast in Los Angeles [USA], where polls will close at 6am South African time on Thursday.

Voting stations in 123 locales have reported their readiness for voting in the national elections, having received all the relevant materials and training.

The voting stations with the largest number of people are: London (9 863); Dubai (1 539); Canberra (1 243); Kinshasa (773); The Hague (667); New York (604); Doha (557); Dublin (466) and Khartoum (458).

Once voting is completed, the ballots from each voting station will be collected in secure, sealed bags and transported to Pretoria, where they will be counted for inclusion in the national results.

Responding to concerns that South Africans abroad had not been adequately informed of the process to apply for overseas votes, Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya said the IEC had worked closely with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in promoting overseas voting among eligible voters.

“Electoral prescripts provide that all registered voters who are registered in voting districts in the Republic, as well as those registered against the international segment of the voters’ roll must notify the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to vote at the mission at which they intend voting within 15 days of the proclamation of the election. This period ended on the 12 March 2014,” explained Moepya.

The Commission had, in conjunction with DIRCO, run a dedicated communication campaign aimed at registered citizens, who are ordinarily resident outside of the Republic. Among the initiatives undertaken to inform voters were press releases explaining the process, issued in South Africa and by missions abroad.

Pamphlets and posters explaining the process provided to each South African mission for distribution to eligible voters was also among the initiatives undertaken. -                     

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