2.7 million people turn out for voter registration weekend
OVER 2.7 million people went to verify their addresses during the voter registration weekend, the Electoral Commission (IEC) has revealed.
IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said a total of 2 767 139 citizens visited their voting stations over the past weekend to either register as new voters or to update their registration, making this one of the busiest voter registration weekends in recent years.
“Of the 2.76 million voters who visited their voting stations this weekend, 1 390 861 used the opportunity to re-register in their current voting district; 885 758 used the opportunity to change their registration to a new voting district, and 490 520 were voters registering for the first time,” he said.
Of the new voter’s registrations, over 400 000 (82%) were under the age of 30 and approximately 54 percent were women. Mamabolo said the province of Gauteng saw the most new registration at 23.69 percent followed by KwaZulu Natal with 18.78 percent and Limpopo with 17.03 percent.
“The voters’ roll now stands at 26 250 939 voters which is estimated to be approximately 75 percent of the eligible voting population based on Statistics South Africa voting age population estimates. With the results of the registration weekend factored, the Eastern Cape is the province with the highest level of registration at 87 percent followed by the Free State at 82.2 percent and KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Northern Cape at 79 percent. Despite the high number of new voter registrations over the past weekend Gauteng has the lowest overall registration at 67.3 percent,” he said.
The drive to register people comes on the backdrop of the Constitutional Court ordering the IEC to ensure the voter’s roll includes people’s addresses. The court said the move was to ensure that there is no corruption during elections.
Mamabolo added that the weekend also saw a large spike in online activity with over 50 000 registered voters using the website and the App to check and update their address details. He said since the online facility was introduced last year, over 100 000 voters have used it to check and update their details.
“The online facility at www. elections.org.za and our App remain available 24 hours a day for registered voters to check and update their address details.
“The average duration spent online or on the app is just less than 6 minutes. It is estimated that approximately 300 000 who visited voting stations are among the 2.8 million voters for whom the Electoral Commission did not have an address going into the weekend,” he said.
Mamabolo added that the completed registration forms would now be scanned and all demographic and address details captured over the coming weeks to determine the final impact on the aspect of the voters’ roll.
In terms of the provincial breakdown of the registration activity, the most populated provinces predictably had the highest participation with KwaZulu Natal recording 558 728 interactions with voters (20.19 percent) followed by Gauteng with 517 703 (18.71 percent) and the Eastern Cape with 460 168 (16.63 percent).
“Weekend registration activity at voting stations saw participation double on Sunday with 1.8 million recorded interactions compared to about 955 000 on Saturday. This is in line with previous trends during registration weekends,” he said.
The Commission said it was not the end of the process. People can still visit the IEC’s offices closest to them to check, update and register to vote. Mamabolo said the Electoral Commission believes that such a high turnout with more than a year until the next general elections bodes extremely well for participation in next year’s elections and the future of electoral democracy in the country.
Members of the public in Limpopo heeded the call for voter registration last weekend. They flooded registration stations and were encouraged by representatives of political parties to “do the right thing”, as called by President Cyril Ramaphosa.