The 2019 National and Provincial election is shaping up to be the most important election ever in the history of a democratic South Africa.
It is critical that every South African is enfranchised and able to cast their vote in an election where there is a very real possibility that the ANC will slip below 50 % of the vote.
The Electoral Commission has launched the first phase of an online address capture facility where registered voters can provide their address details via the IEC’s website.
The facility is only for already registered voters to provide and update their address details and is not an online registration facility.
In this initial phase the online facility will also only be available to the approximately 3 million registered voters for whom no address is currently on the voters’ roll.
The affected voters are being contacted and requested to submit their addresses online via a targeted SMS campaign.
It is planned to open the system to all registered voters to check and update their address details in later phases of the campaign which will also include additional opportunities for voters to provide their address details – including those without access to the internet.
The initiative forms part of on-going efforts to enhance and update the voters’ roll with the address details of all voters where available following the ruling of the Constitutional Court in June 2016.
In a widely publicised ruling, the Constitutional Court gave the Electoral Commission until June 2018 to rectify deficiencies on the national common voters’ roll with regards to missing addresses.
In March 2016 approximately 7.85 million (32%) of the 26 million registered voters had no address details on the voters’ roll and an estimated 8.6 million (34%) of addresses were incomplete.
Through a variety of initiatives this has been significantly and systematically improved:
The proportion of complete addresses increased from 32% of registered voters to over 72% of registered voters
The proportion of incomplete addresses has decreased from 34% to 14%
The percentage of registered voters without a recorded address on the voters’ roll has been reduced from 32% to 12%
Among the measures taken to date include:
- Checking all records and storage to find any registration forms which have address details which the Electoral Commission may not have captured
- Asking voters to update their address details during the April 2016 voter registration weekend
- Asking voters without address to please complete an address form on Election Day for the 2016 Municipal Elections (this initiative generated almost 3 million addresses)
- The Electoral Commission has focused on obtaining missing addresses for voters during all by-elections held since July 2016
The Electoral Commission has started sending out SMS messages to those voters whose addresses are not on record and for whom it was able to source a cellphone number requesting them to submit their address via www.elections.org.za
They will first need to register on the website and provide a username and password for security purposes.