The Electoral Commission has launched an online voter registration facility allowing new voters to register and existing voters to update or amend their registration from the ease and convenience of their homes or elsewhere.
Launched on Wednesday, the online voter registration facility is part of the Electoral Commission’s ongoing commitment to provide greater accessibility and convenience to voters.
“The Electoral Commission believes the online facility will be a game-changer in promoting voter registration especially among young and first-time voters. Research and engagements over the years with young eligible voters to better understand their behaviour have frequently identified the lack of online voter registration as a key obstacle,” the IEC said.
The introduction of an online registration system is also a crucial part of the Electoral Commission’s plans to boost voter registration despite COVID-19 ahead of the Local Government Elections scheduled for 27 October this year.
“The Electoral Commission hopes that providing a facility whereby voters can register, check and update their registration details without having to visit an IEC office or a voting station will serve to minimise congestion and maximum registration,” the IEC said.
The online voter registration facility follows the implementation of a range of other digital service channels over the past five years including online candidate nominations, online special vote applications and online party funding declarations. It has been in development for a number of years.
“The first phase was the introduction of an online service known as “Click, Check, Confirm” ahead of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections through which existing voters were able to check and amend their registration.
“More than 350 000 voters have made use of this system since its introduction. The second phase allows all eligible voters – whether registered or not – to register and update their details via a computer, smart mobile device or tablet,” the IEC said.
The system will utilise a number of security checks to ensure the integrity of the voters’ roll. These include the use of a one-time-pin (OTP) verification and the submission of a scan or photograph of the voter’s ID document.
“The online registration complements other existing registration options including ongoing voter registration at all local IEC offices and various outreach initiatives including at schools, tertiary education institutions and the general voter registration weekends ahead of elections,” the IEC said.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission rescheduled its planned voter registration weekend to 31 July – 1 August due to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All 23 151 voting stations are expected to open between 8am and 5pm over that weekend to help voters register and check their registration details in person.
Due to the 24/7 nature of online registration, the facility will also allow voters to register and update their registration details up to the last possible moment ahead of proclamation.
Proclamation has the effect of sealing the voters’ roll for purposes of an impending election.
Eligible voters can register in just a few easy steps:
- Go to https://registertovote.elections.org.za
- Click “Register to Vote Now”
- Enter your personal details
- Enter the One-Time Pin sent to your cellphone
- Search for your address, or if you are at home, use the current location on your device
- Take a photo of your ID OR submit a scan of your ID
- You will receive an SMS within 24 hours confirming your successful registration.
Users who created profiles on “Click, Check, Confirm” platform can use the same login details to access the system.
“The online voter registration application was developed using a Progressive Web Application platform, which means it can be used on any device with a browser and it uses less data than most mobile apps because it does not need to be downloaded.
“It allows the system to identify and take advantage of specific features on a device. For example, if a camera is detected, the system will suggest the user take a photo of the ID document,” the IEC said.
All South African citizens aged 16 years and older in possession of an SA ID (smartcard ID or green barcoded ID book) are permitted to register as voters. Only registered voters aged 18 or older on election day may vote.
“You must register in a voting district in a ward in which you ordinarily reside and voters are reminded that it is an offence to provide false information or to knowingly register in the ward.
“In local government elections, voters may only vote in the voting district in which they are registered. There is no latitude to vote at any other voting station. This is due to the geographic element of local government election where wards are a basis of the electoral contest,” the IEC said.