ELECTIONS 2009: Introduction Feature

It’s hard to understand the complexity of this process without a birds-eye view. As an introduction to our Register-to-Vote campaign, get started with following feature from SouthAfrica.info.

Register to vote in 2009

Bathandwa Mbola

19 September 2008

The Independent Electoral Commission has called on South Africans who are not registered to vote in next year’s general elections to do so between 8 and 9 November, when voting stations will be open from 8am to 5pm.

A further voter registration drive will be held in February 2009, for those who missed the previous campaign or for those who want to make changes to their personal details or residential addresses.

According to the commission, there are currently over 20-million registered voters on the national voters’ roll, together with 137 registered political parties.

“In a proportional representation system such as ours, every vote counts,” Chief Electoral Officer Pansy Tlakula said in Johannesburg this week.

“I trust that South Africans will come out in their numbers, firstly to register and then cast their votes as we together continue to shape our amazing country’s future.”

President Thabo Mbeki’s second term in charge of the country comes to an end in April next year, by which time he will have announced the official election date.

Election preparations

In preparation for the election, the commission is recruiting and training 59 115 election official to help conduct the registrations, while it has already started procuring vast quantities of materials to be used to persuade South Africans to exercise their voting rights.

“These include 20-million voter registration forms, 300 000 street pole posters, 44 000 stationary packs and 40 000 banners,” said Tlakula. “In addition to this, we have begun work on enhancing our IT infrastructure to ensure the smooth running of the registration, voting and results processes.”

Significantly, the commission has replaced its aging fleet of scanners and now have 30 000 new units which will be used for the registration weekend.

Free and fair elections

IEC chairperson Brigalia Bam said it was important for all the commission’s systems and employees responsible for the management of the election to be independent, impartial, transparent and accountable in their functioning.

She stressed that the 2009 elections would be free and fair, and would not be compromised by political interference.

The IEC was formally established in terms of Chapter 9 of the country’s Constitution and the Electoral Commission Act of 1996.

When the IEC was established in 1997, South Africa did not have a national common voters’ roll. The first voters roll, compiled by the IEC in 1999, contained more than 18-million names. Ten years later, the number had grown to more than 20-million.

The country also did not have any voting districts until the IEC created 14 650 of them between June and November 1998, for the first registration weekend. This year the commission will increase the stations to 19 705.

To find out if you are on the voter’s roll, SMS your ID number to 32810 or visit the IEC website.

SAinfo reporter

Go to SouthAfrica.info Source: SouthAfrica.info
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.


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