A special vote allows a registered voter, who can't vote at their voting station on election day, to apply to vote on a predetermined day before election day.
Do I qualify for a special vote?
You can apply if you –
- are a registered voter in South Africa;
- have a green bar-coded ID book or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (apply at a Home Affairs office);
- appear on the Voters’ Roll; and
- meet the conditions for the specific type of election (see below).
To make sure that you're registered and to find out where you're registered, you can:
National and provincial elections
The laws on special votes during national and provincial elections can be found in section 33 of the Electoral Act and Chapter 3 of the regulations (download the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 including Regulations - PDF 1.25 MB).
By law, you can apply for a special vote during national and provincial elections only if you:
- are heavily pregnant or have a physical infirmity or disability;
- will be out of the country on election day;
- will be out of the country on government service; or
- are working as an election officer or member of the election's security services.
Municipal elections and by-elections
The laws on special votes during municipal elections can be found in Section 55 of the Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000) (PDF - 240KB).
By law, you can apply for a special vote during municipal elections and by-elections if you:
- can’t travel to your voting station because you are physically infirm or disabled; or
- can’t vote at your voting station on election day.
How do I apply?
- Download and complete form MEC 35 (34.9 KB), the application for special vote.
- Submit the application form in person (or via a proxy if you’re unable to travel) during office hours at the municipal electoral office responsible for the voting district in which you're registered. The form must be submitted during the period detailed in the election timetable (only published after an election date has been officially announced and gazetted). Important: You can't email or fax your application form to us - it must be hand-delivered to your municipal electoral office, NOT the national or provincial offices.
- Staff will record the details of your application on our system and give you a system-generated receipt that indicates if you qualify for a special vote. Please keep this receipt as proof of your application outcome.
When do I vote?
Dates for the casting of special votes (usually a day or two before election day) are predetermined and published in the election timetable for a specific election. The election timetable is only published after the election date has been proclaimed (officially announced and gazetted).
Special votes can only be cast on the specified dates.
Where do I vote?
- If you can’t travel to your voting station because you are physically infirm or disabled, voting officials will visit you at the place where you're living and allow you to vote. To qualify, you must be registered to vote in the voting district where you've requested the home visit.
- If you can travel but can’t vote at your voting station on election day, you will vote at your voting station.
What happens when I cast a special vote?
If your application for a special vote is successful, you will vote as follows:
- Your thumbnail is marked with indelible ink.
- Your ID book is stamped.
- You receive the relevant ballot paper(s).
- You mark the ballot(s) in secret, place and seal the ballot(s) in an unmarked envelope
- The unmarked envelope is placed in another envelope that is marked with your name, ID number and voting district (VD) number. The use of two envelopes is to ensure the secrecy of your ballot (the outer envelope is discarded before counting).
- IEC officials take the envelope and place it in a secure ballot box for special votes.
- Your name is marked off the Voters’ Roll with “SV” to indicate that you have cast a special vote.