Register to vote in South Africa: Everything you need to know

Register to vote in South Africa: Everything you need to know

Why is it important to vote in South Africa? It is your responsibility to use your elect to choose leaders who protect the people's interests. Do you have to register to vote? You must register as an electorate to participate in the country's elections. So, how do you register to vote in South Africa?

Register to vote South Africa
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) grants voting rights to SA citizens who comply with the minimum electorate registration requirements. Photo: @IECSouthAfrica
Source: Twitter

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) or Electoral Commission of South Africa oversees the electorates' registration and elections countrywide. Are prisoners allowed to vote in South Africa? A prisoner is legally incapable of voting at any parliamentary or local government election.

How to register to vote in South Africa

Do I have to register to vote every year? You register as a South African voter once unless the constitution changes your voting district boundaries or you relocate from one place to another. So, how can I register to vote in South Africa? Here are the guidelines:

Read also

How to start a construction company in South Africa

Requirements to vote in South Africa

The first thing to note is meeting the electorate registration requirements. What documents do I need to apply for registration? You need these things to register:

1. You must be a South African citizen.

  • Can foreigners vote in South Africa? No. You can only register as an electorate if you are a SA citizen.

2. You must be 16 years old and above. However, you will not be allowed to participate in the elections at this age, even after registering.

  • At what age can you register to vote in South Africa? You will be allowed to elect your leader when you turn 18 and have a national ID card or any other identification document.

3. Ensure you have a valid smartcard ID, a Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC), or a Green-barcoded ID book.

How do you register to vote?

Read also

Bonalesedi Nursing College: fees, courses, address, contact details

Register to vote South Africa
The Green-barcoded ID book can be used as an identity document when registering as an electorate. Photo: @CommentaryGeo
Source: Twitter

Questions regarding when and where to register should no longer trouble you. Here is what you will do at your district's IEC office:

  • The IEC staff will give you a registration form to fill. Your information must be accurate and seek clarification where necessary.
  • Present the required documents listed above to the staff.
  • They will scan your identity document book or put a barcoded sticker on your valid Temporary Identity Certificate or green ID book.
  • Once they do the above, you have completed the application process but have not registered. The registration process takes up to seven working days.

How do I know I am registered to vote?

The IEC staff verifies the information on the registration form within the seven working days to complete your registration. How do you check your voter registration details? Find out if your registration is successful, your voting station, and ward details using these methods:

Read also

SRD Reconsideration status check and registration in 2024

  1. Visit your local IEC office to inquire about your registration.
  2. Send an SMS containing your ID number to 32810. Your network provider will charge you R1.00 per SMS.
  3. Download an IEC app and enter your ID number to check your registration details.

4. Visit the IEC website and enter your ID to access your registration details.

Register to vote South Africa
South Africa implemented the online electorate registration system for the first time this year. Photo: @RekordNewspaper
Source: Twitter

How to register to vote in South Africa online

South Africa did not permit online voter registration for decades. However, IEC now has a website for electorates to create portals and an app. Therefore, electorates can now register online. Here is the process:

  1. Visit the IEC electorates' registration website.
  2. Click the Register to Vote Now button.
  3. Enter your name and surname, phone number, and password.
  4. Enter the PIN sent to your phone via SMS. It is a one-time pin.
  5. Search for your address or use the current location on your device if you are at home.
  6. Take a photo of your national ID card or submit a copy of your ID scan.
  7. IEC will confirm your successful registration via SMS within 24 hours.

Read also

Express police clearance South Africa: All you need to know

How to register and vote abroad

Register to vote South Africa
A South African passport and temporary passport can be used as identity documents when registering to vote overseas. Photo: @visafoto_com
Source: Twitter

Mzansi citizens living abroad have the right to register and elect leaders. Alternatively, vote from SA through a special vote before moving overseas. Here is how you can register and vote abroad:

  1. You need a South African identity document and a passport (or a temporary passport) to vote overseas. The identity documents can be your Green-barcoded South African ID book, a smartcard ID, or a Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC).
  2. You will receive an IEC SMS notification requesting you to re-register if your voting district boundaries change. Otherwise, you do not need to re-register if you do so while in SA. Therefore, confirm your registration status online.
  3. Submit a VEC10 to IEC offices 15 days from the date the commission announces the election date. The document notifies the commission of your intention to elect leaders from overseas.
  4. Bring with you the required documents to the foreign mission indicated on the IEC confirmation email or SMS on the voting day.

Read also

Temporary drivers licence South Africa: All you need to know

  • They will mark your thumbnail with indelible ink, stamp your ID book and give you the national ballot paper and an unmarked envelope.
  • Mark the paper in secret and put it in the envelope.
  • They will be placed in another envelope labelled with your name and ID number and then placed in a secure ballot box for special votes.
  • The outer envelope is discarded before they count polls.
Register to vote in South Africa
Applying for special votes helps you vote at your voting station on a predetermined day before the election day. Photo: @IECSouthAfrica
Source: Twitter

IEC special votes application

Apply for special votes at a local IEC office or online if you cannot travel to your voting station on election day. It might be because of a disability, pregnancy, travel, or any other valid reason.

You will be allowed to vote on a predetermined day before the election day. However, registration only happens at the local offices and not the national or provincial offices.

  • Phone number: 012 622 5700
  • Email address:
  • Contact Centre phone number: 0800 11 8000

Read also

Simple requirements for obtaining a South African ID book

The IEC re-registration and changing address

During the municipal elections and by-elections, you must vote from the voting station you registered at. Here is how you do it:

  1. Login or create a profile on the IEC voter portal.
  2. Click on Check and Confirm your address.
  3. View and manage your address.


  • Check your voter registration details and take note of your voting station and district number.
  • Search for your current home address and voting district number on the Voting Station Finder. Compare the details with your registration details. You need to re-register if they do not match.
  • Apply for registration at the local IEC office or online during the registration weekend.
  • Wait for at least seven days and then check your registration details since your voting station might change.
Register to vote in South Africa
All registered electorates will be issued unmarked IEC ballot papers at their voting stations on the election day. Photo: @ewnupdates
Source: Twitter

When can I register to vote in South Africa?

The electorates' registration in South Africa takes place a few months before a major election. Therefore, voting stations have registered citizens on 18th and 19th September 2021.

Read also

The RE5 exam: cost, app, dates, study material, how to prepare

Online registration closed on Monday midnight, 20th September 2021. IEC now has 25.6-million registered electorates, and the elections will be on 1st November 2021.

Your vote is the simplest weapon through which you can oust bad leaders from the government. Now that you know how to register to vote in South Africa, make sure to be among the first people to register next time.

READ ALSO: SACE requirements, registration, number, online login, offices, contact details also shared details about SACE registration. It is illegal to teach in South Africa's public and private schools without a SACE certificate.

Teachers get suspended or expelled from professions they built for years because they lack these certificates. Therefore, the government provides online registration services to lighten the process.

Source: Briefly News

Jedidah Tabalia avatar

Jedidah Tabalia Jedi is a journalist with over 5 years working experience in the media industry. She has a BSc. in Human Resource Management from Moi University (graduated in 2014) and a working in progress MBA in Strategic Management. Having joined Genesis in 2017, Jedi is a passionate Facts and Life Hacks, Fitness, and Health content creator who sees beauty in everything. She loves traveling and checking out new restaurants. Her email address is