FAQ: Voter registration

Who can register?

In order to register, you must:

  • be a South African citizen;
  • be at least 16 years old (you can only vote from age 18); and
  • have a green, bar-coded ID book; smartcard ID; or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC).

When to register

  • Q: Can I register at any time before the elections?
    A: No, the voters' roll for an election closes at 5pm on the day that the election is proclaimed (published in the Government Gazette), and it is impossible to vote in that election if you have not applied for registration before then.
  • Q: Can I still register after the voters' roll for an election closes?
    A: You can still make an appointment to register at the  local IEC office responsible for your voting district, but you will not be able to vote in the proclaimed elections. By law, no exceptions can be made.
  • Q: Can I change my voting station after the voters' roll for an election closes?
    A: Yes, you can make an appointment to re-register at the  local IEC office responsible for your voting district at any time, but you can't change your details for an election once the voters' roll for that election has closed.

Where to register

  • Q: Where do I register if I missed the registration weekend?
    A: You can make an appointment to register at the  local IEC office responsible for your voting district.
  • Q: Why can't I register online/via mobile phone/by post?
    A: The legislation doesn't allow for electronic or postal registration or voting. You have to apply for registration and vote in person with the required ID.
  • Q: I can't get to my local IEC office to register because I'm in hospital/disabled/elderly. How can I register?
    A: If you are unable to travel, you can contact the  local IEC office responsible for your voting district regarding special registration at your location.

My registration status

  • Q: How do I know if I'm registered?
    A: At least 7 days after applying, you can check your voter registration details to find out if you're registered.
  • Q: I have just applied for registration, but your system says I'm not registered. Why?
    A: You have applied for registration, but we still have to process your application and that can take approximately 7 days for applications submitted within SA and longer for applications from abroad. Please wait at least 7 days before you check your voter registration details.
  • Q: It's been more than a week since I applied for registration, but your system still says I'm not registered. What do I do now?
    A: Please email your ID number and contact info to us at webmaster@elections.org.za.
  • Q: I don't have a receipt sticker in my ID book. Does that mean I'm not registered?
    A: No, the sticker is only proof that you applied for registration. The sticker has no bearing on whether or not you're actually registered. The only time you will need your sticker is if you vote at a voting station other than the one where you are registered to vote (only possible during national and provincial elections). In this case, your name won't be on the voters' roll and you may need to present your sticker.

How to register

Registering abroad

  • Q: Can I register abroad?
    A: Yes, the Electoral Amendment Act 2013 gave all South African citizens the right to register and vote abroad in national elections. Important: In order to vote abroad, you must be registered AND submit a VEC10 notification within the period specified on the election's timetable (15 days from the date on which the election is proclaimed).
  • Q: Where can I register abroad?
    A: You can apply for registration at your nearest South African embassy, high commission or consulate-general (see www.dfa.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm for locations and contact info) during their normal office hours. Please note that it is not possible to register or vote at honorary consulates or liaison offices.
  • Q: When can I register abroad?
    A: You can register during the embassy, high commission or consulate-general's normal working hours (please see www.dfa.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm for contact info, and phone for opening hours). While registration is ongoing, you must apply for registration before an election is proclaimed (published in the Government Gazette) in order to be able to vote in that election.
  • Q: What documentation do I need to take with me in order to apply?
    A: You need to take BOTH your green, bar-coded South African ID book; smartcard ID; or valid Temporary Identity Certificate, AND your valid South African passport or temporary passport. Both documents are essential and must be valid, and no other identity documents can be accepted. Only original documents can be accepted, no copies.

Voting/registration age

  • Q: I am 17 years old now, but will turn 18 around the time when the elections will be held. Will I be able to vote?
    A: You must have applied for registration and turned 18 on or before the day that the election date was proclaimed (published in the Government Gazette) to be able to vote.
  • Q: I will be younger than 18 years old on proclamation day, should I still register?
    A: Yes, you can register as soon as you have your South African ID. As soon as there's an election when you'll be at least 18 years old on the day that the election date is proclaimed (published in the Government Gazette), we'll automatically add you to the voters' roll so that you can vote.

ID requirements

  • Q: I can't apply for an ID because I don't have a birth certificate, so my right to vote is being denied me. What can I do?
    A: You have to go to the Department of Home Affairs or call them on 0800 601 190 to see how they can help you. Unfortunately we can't assist with any ID-related issues. You must have a green, bar-coded South African ID book, smartcard ID, or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) to register as a voter, and to vote.
  • Q: I have my old blue/TBVC ID, drivers' license, passport. Can I register with it?
    A: No, for the purposes of voter registration, only an original green, bar-coded SA ID book; smartcard ID or valid Temporary Identity Certificate can be accepted. Please apply for your ID book at Home Affairs or contact them on 0800 60 11 90.
  • Q: My ID book is in my maiden name, but my married name appears on the voters' roll. Do I need to re-register?
    A: No, we only use your ID number and not your name. We check your ID number against the National Population Register (NPR) to ensure that you are eligible to vote. We get your name as it's reflected on the NPR (the Department of Home Affairs automatically changes your name when you get married), and that is the name that appears on the voters' roll. Your name on the voters' roll does not have to match the name on your ID. You can apply to Home Affairs for a new ID reflecting your married name if you want to, but it's not necessary in order to register or vote.
  • Q: What do I need to bring with me when I register as a voter?
    A: You only need a green, bar-coded South African ID book, smartcard ID, or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC). We can't accept a passport, driver's license, certified copy of ID or any other form of ID. Please contact Home Affairs on 0800 60 11 90 with any ID-related questions.

When to re-register

  • Q: I have registered, but have since moved to a new home. Must I register again?
    A: Yes, you need to register again if you've moved, or your voting district boundaries have changed, since you registered. You must re-register before an election is proclaimed (published in the Government Gazette) or your new details will not appear on the voters' roll for that election. Important: You have to vote at the voting station where you are registered during municipal elections and by-elections.
  • Q: I registered for a previous election, do I have to register again?
    A: No, you only have to re-register if your address or voting district has changed. Please check your voter registration details to make sure that you're registered and to check if your voting district boundaries may have changed.

Proof of registration

  • Q: What proof do I get that I have registered?
    A: A receipt is pasted in your ID book when you apply for registration. If your name isn't on the voters' roll on election day and you don't have your registration sticker, you have no proof that you applied for registration and you won't be able to vote. However, the sticker doesn't necessarily mean that you are registered, only that you applied for registration. If, when we process your application, we find that you aren't eligible to vote (for example, if you're not a citizen), you will be added to the rejected portion of the voters' roll. To make sure that your application was successful, please wait 7 days after applying for registration and then check your registration details.

Job opportunities during the elections

Please contact your local IEC office (not the national or provincial offices) to find out about any vacancies.