Elections 2014: expats all set to vote

The thousands of South Africans living overseas who have registered to vote in this year’s national elections will cast their votes when polls open around the world, beginning with the SA High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand, at 7am on Wednesday (or 9pm on Tuesday in local time).

The last voting station to close will be the one Los Angeles in the US, which will close at 6am South African time on Thursday. This year the fifth general elections since 1994.

A report in a South African newspaper on Tuesday alleged that voters living abroad would not be able to do so due to a government communication problem relating to a notification form. However, this was swiftly dismissed as incorrect by the Department of International Relations, according to a report in the Mail & Guardian.

“People are going to be voting tomorrow [Wednesday],” spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

“Elections are run by an independent body, not by government,” Monyela is quoted as saying. “All the information related to the elections, whether it’s here or abroad, is communicated by the IEC.”

The IEC says it has printed 31-million papers for this year’s elections, and has recruited more than 200 000 to ensure smooth elections.

There are 26 000 registered voters abroad, according to a report in the Cape Times. The IEC has reportedly budgeted R2-million to courier ballot papers from 116 cities back to South Africa.

According to the IEC’s website, the South Africans living overseas who did not submit their VEC10 forms, which notify the IEC of their intention to vote, by 12 March are not eligible to vote. If you submitted your VEC10 by the specified date, and it was approved, you will be able to vote at the foreign mission you selected.

The IEC has confirmed that 25 390 150 voters have registered to cast their ballots in the 7 May 2014 national and provincial elections. This is an increase of 9.5% over the 2009 voters’ roll.

The voters’ roll reflects a total of 80.80% of registered voters, the IEC said.

Gauteng has the highest number of voters with just over 6-million followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 5.1-million, the Eastern Cape with 3.24-million and the Western Cape with 2.9-million. Between them, these four provinces make up almost 68% of all voters.

The final candidate lists, released by the IEC on 25 April, show a total of 8 651 candidates who are standing for elections. Of these, 2 089 candidates are on national lists; 2 165 candidates on regional lists; and 4 397 candidates on provincial lists contesting for 400 National Assembly and 430 provincial legislature seats respectively. This gives candidates an overall statistical 1 in 10 chance of election, the IEC said.

According to VoteHome, a DA Abroad initiative aimed at encouraging South Africans living overseas to vote, the top 21 overseas voting stations with the most number of registered voters are:

  1. London – 9,863
  2. Dubai – 1,539
  3. Canberra – 1,243
  4. Kishasa – 773
  5. Hague – 667
  6. New York – 604
  7. Qatar – 557
  8. Abu Dhabi – 540
  9. Dublin – 466
  10. Khartoum (Sudan) – 458
  11. New Zealand – 406
  12. Cuba – 395
  13. Namibia – 361
  14. Botswana – 357
  15. Washington – 356
  16. Seoul – 345
  17. Berlin – 342
  18. Berne – 340
  19. Los Angeles – 338
  20. Hong Kong – 330

All the overseas voting stations, except for the one in Helsinki, Finland, will open at 7am and close at 9pm. In Finland, voting will close at lunchtime due to a spring festival celebration.

In order to vote, you must have both a valid green, bar-coded South African ID book, ID smartcard or Temporary Identity Certificate and your valid South African passport

Voters registered in South Africa for a special vote will cast their vote on 5 and 6 May. The rest of the country heads for the polls on 7 May.

SAinfo reporter