The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) has reported a significant increase in online voter registrations since the launch of its online registration portal in July 2021.
According to the commission, 1.1 million registrations have been recorded, with a notable surge in activity from young voters and women. The online portal has become increasingly popular, with 52% of all transactions being conducted online.
Of the total online voter registrations, 40.6% are new registrations, indicating a strong interest from previously unregistered individuals. Women make up the majority of users on the online portal, accounting for 56% of registrations.
Additionally, young people under the age of 29 represent a significant portion of users, with a usage level of 49.6%. In preparation for the 2024 national and provincial elections, the IEC has organized a registration weekend to encourage more individuals to register.
The registration weekend will be held on Saturday and Sunday, with 23,296 registration stations open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on both days.
To ensure a smooth process, the IEC has recruited and trained over 69,718 staff members, with a focus on employing women, individuals under the age of 35, and the unemployed. The goal is to reach as many of the approximately 34% of unregistered voters as possible.
According to the recently released Census 2022 results, there are an estimated 39.7 million people of voting age in South Africa. However, the current voters’ roll stands at 26.2 million, representing only 66% of the eligible population.
To address this gap, the IEC is urging registered voters to visit the registration stations during the registration weekend to verify the correctness of their details.
It is crucial for voters to ensure their registration is in the correct voting district, as amendments to regulations now require voters to vote in the district they are registered in. Exceptions to this rule can only be made with pre-notification to the chief electoral officer, as specified in the election timetable.
For any inquiries or assistance, the IEC’s contact centre has been activated and can be reached at 0800 11 8000.
In terms of election readiness, the IEC has signed lease agreements for permanent voting stations, with 62% of these stations being located in schools and 9.7% in places of worship.
The remaining voting stations are situated in community halls and other municipal buildings. Additionally, there are 959 temporary voting stations, with the majority of them located in Gauteng (204), followed by the Free State (180) and Limpopo (150).
The IEC is committed to ensuring a smooth and inclusive electoral process, and the surge in online registrations, particularly among young voters and women, is a positive indication of increased civic engagement in South Africa.