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Last chance to register - The impact your voting decision has

25 February 2014, 15:44

Today, on the 25th of February 2014, citizens of South Africa who have not yet registered to vote in the upcoming elections taking place on the 7th of May 2014, have one last chance to do so. This chance ends at 17:00pm today.

If you are reading this article, whether you have registered to vote or not, it is intended for both types of readers. I would like to point out the huge impact your vote will have should you vote, and the huge impact you will have, should you not vote.

South Africa is at its highest and most intense point politically. We are currently seeing political parties doing all they can to win the support and votes of the people. Whether or not they should receive those votes is beyond the point of this article – their common goal is the same, though, which is what I would like to point out to all reading this article.

These political parties all have the same goal in mind and all have the same basic thoughts on the importance of voting, they feel that by voting you will have a great impact on the future of your country. It is your (yes, your) responsibility towards your country to vote. It is your responsibility to ensure that your country (which includes you, your family, and future generations) have a government elected into power that will have the country and the citizens’ best interests at heart. Now, many may think that a responsibility of this kind is purely that – a responsibility, and that there is nothing more involved. This way of thinking is completely wrong, as, although you have this responsibility (to vote), you also have benefits to receive.

Remember, this is a democratically run country, therefore, all that we see happening is a result of what action we have or have not taken. It is all on us, in basic terms. Cookies don’t burn themselves, you, the baker, have a responsibility to turn off the oven before they burn. The reward or benefit of doing so? - Perfectly baked cookies.

So, as you may think that you are simply voting for the country, you may not realise that you are, in fact, voting for yourself – your family, your children and their future.

I firmly believe that any individual who is eligible to vote, yet does not vote, does not have the capacity to complain about the state of our country. If you wanted cookies that weren’t burnt, you should have helped in baking them.

Now that we have established that voting truly is for the benefit of all involved, we can now ask why individuals do not take action and register to vote. There truly is no valid reason (besides transport and incredibly personal issues or matters). Registering to vote is incredibly simple. Here is the process involved:

Mr C would like to register to vote. He contacts the local IEC office to find out where the nearest voting station is. After finding out, he decides to drive or walk to the voting station. He is told that he needs to bring his I.D. (Identification Document) along with him and also that registering to vote is FREE. Once he arrives at the voting station, there are tables set out. Behind these tables are helpful individuals. One of them asks Mr C if he would like to register to vote. He replies “Yes”. The helper then hands Mr C a one-page form he needs to fill out. This form should not take longer than 4 minutes to fill out (depending on the writing speed of the individual, and whether they already know the information required off by heart [such as phone numbers, etc…]) Mr C finishes filling out the form and hands it to the helper, along with his ID. He waits for about 5 minutes. Once they are done registering Mr C, they call out his name so he can take his I.D. and go home.

Now, this process is incredibly simple and relatively quick. I had gone with a family member earlier this month so they could register to vote and the entire process (from getting in the car to drive to the voting station, to driving back home) didn’t exceed 12 minutes.

Therefore, citizens of South Africa who have not yet registered, I urge you to fulfil your responsibility and practise your constitutional right. I urge you to go and register to vote!

Any opinion(s)/ideas/examples are my own.

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