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Voter registration this weekend for 96 by-elections

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Voter registration this weekend for 96 by-elections

1st October 2020

By: News24Wire

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Voter registration will be held this coming weekend for 96 municipal ward by-elections scheduled for 11 November.

The by-elections will take place in 56 municipalities in all nine provinces across 461 voting districts affecting more than 600 000 registered voters, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) announced on Wednesday.

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This after by-elections were postponed in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Voting stations in affected wards will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00 to allow all eligible voters to register and for current voters to check their registration details and to update address details where necessary.

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Voters who are already registered have the further option to check their registration status online at if they have internet access or to SMS their ID number to 32810 at a cost of R1 per SMS.

Voters can also use these facilities to check if they are affected by the by-elections.

Voters must take their IDs with them - either a green bar-coded ID book, a smartcard ID or a valid temporary ID certificate. They will also need to complete their physical home address on registration or provide sufficient particularities of their place of residence.

Documented proof of address like a municipal account is not required.

"Voters are reminded that it is a criminal offence to register and vote in a ward in which they are not ordinarily resident," read the IEC's statement.

The by-elections will be held under strict Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety of voters, election staff, party agents, observers and other stakeholders. These include implementing strict social distancing practices outside and inside voting stations along with the use of hand sanitisers as voters enter and exit the voting station.

Voters, election staff and all those entering the voting station will be required to wear a mask at all times.

Voters are also encouraged to bring their own pens to mark their ballot papers, although pens will be provided and sanitised after each use.

The IEC intends to clear the backlog of all outstanding by-elections simultaneously on 11 November.

This after none was held since March 2020 following the imposition of the lockdown restrictions.

Since then, 96 ward vacancies in 56 municipalities have occurred, including two dissolved councils in the Northern Cape where proportional representation (PR) candidates must also be elected (nine PR seats in Phokwane and three in Renosterberg).

"The scheduling of by-elections follows the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country is to move to alert Level 1 which will include the lifting of restrictions on political activities.

"The scheduling also follows consultations with the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs as well as represented political parties via a special national party liaison committee meeting," read the statement.

Special voting will take place at voting stations as well as through home visits on 10 November 2020 between 08:00 and 17:00. Voters wishing to apply to cast a special vote can apply at their local IEC office during office hours between 26 and 30 October 2020.

Applications for special votes can also be made online via the IEC's website, www.elections.org.za.

Once voters have applied online they will receive an SMS notifying them of the outcome when their application has been processed.

They can also check the status of their special vote application online at www.elections.org.za. Voters can also apply for special votes via cellphone by SMSing their ID number to 32249, at a charge of R1.

The SMS application facility is only available for those applying to cast a special vote at their voting station and not for home visits.

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