1.7 million voters visits registration stations over the weekend
The Electoral Commission is pleased to report that over 1.7 million voters registered during the special two-day registration weekend which took place from 18 to 19 September 2021. This registration yield is inclusive of new registrations as well as voters correcting their registration details. Innovations introduced by the voter management device have increased the speed at which voter registration applications are processed. Approved applications already have their details and addresses captured on the voters’roll. Previously, it would have taken weeks to capture address details of new applicants following a registration event.
Persons registering as voters for the first time were 433 198. This accounts for 25 per cent of the total registration activity. Voters who were re-registering in same or changed voting districts account for account for 1 277 811 applications. This is indicative that the message calling on voters to update their details to accord with political boundaries in which they are resident continues to resonate.
The province with the highest registration activity is KwaZulu-Natal with 358 384. This is followed by Gauteng province with 315 282. In the third place is the Eastern Cape with 240 514.
Young persons in the age category 16-29 account for 402 401 of the new registrations which is 91 percent. Therefore, this registration effort has elicited a good response from young persons.
A well-entrenched pattern of there being more female participants continues. 52 per cent of all new registrations were female voters.
Since its inception in July, the online registration portal has processed 499 488 applications. Yesterday, 121 414 applicants used this digital channel of registration. Our expectation is that the use of the portal will remain on the top-end for most of today as people use the remaining hours to register. This digital channel provides voters the convenience of use in terms of time of application as well as place of application. It will become anchor mechanism of registration in the future. A solid basis was laid for its future use.
Proclamation of Election Date
The Commission welcomes the proclamation of the election date by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. This legal act formally institutes the election phase in the re-constitution of municipal councils within the local sphere of government.
The Ministerial proclamation has made it possible for the Commission to publish an amended election timetable
Amended Election Timetable
The amendments to the election timetable are a consequence of the re-opening of the registration process. The amended timetable will be published in the Government gazette today. Some of the key electoral milestones are as follows:
- The candidate nomination process will now close at 17h00 on 21 September 2021. Final lists of candidates will be published on 29 September 2021 and candidates will be issued with certificates on 1 October 2021.
- Copies of the provisionally compiled voters roll will be made available to electoral contestants between 21 and 23 September 2021. The Commission will make decisions in relation to objections raised on Friday, 24 September 2021. The voters roll will be certified on 26 September 2021.
- Applications for special votes opened today and will close on 4 October 2021. Special votes will be cast on both the 30 and 31 October 2021. Applicants who are unable to visit voting stations due to infirmity will be visited at homes or places of confinement whilst all other successful candidates will cast special votes at the voting stations.
Judgement of the Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court handed down judgment in the application of the Electoral Commission to defer election to February 2022 over the weekend. The Commission had already announced measures to comply with the orders of the Court. The handing down of this judgement has provided all role-players with clarity in relation to the interplay between the regularity of elections on the one hand and the constitutional imperative for free and fair elections. The Commission accepts that it must strive for free and fair elections in the prevailing COVID-19 circumstances.
This morning the court provided the judgment in the secondary case in relation to the amendment of the electoral timetable. The Constitutional Court held that the act of amending the timetable is not impeachable. In this regard, the Commission acted lawfully within the parameters of its empowering statutory provisions. Furthermore, the Court held that on the papers before it, the impartiality of the Commission could not be impugned.
The clarity provided by the Constitutional Court on this matter has laid a foundation for all parties to focus on preparing for the election. On its part, the Commission will continue to discharge its responsibilities with decisions rooted in the constitution and the law. Such an approach ensures that we remain true to the constitutional duty of delivering free and fair elections.
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