Register now to vote

Offenders at the Grootvlei Prison Medium A outside Bloemfontein standing in a queue on Tuesday (22/01) to register to vote during the 2019 election. Photo: Dan Xangaza
Offenders at the Grootvlei Prison Medium A outside Bloemfontein standing in a queue on Tuesday (22/01) to register to vote during the 2019 election. Photo: Dan Xangaza

The Electoral Commission of South Africa in the Free State is working full steam with the registration of eligible voters for the 2019 elections.

The commission is registering prisoners at 27 correctional centres in the province, ahead of the final voters’ registration deadline on Sunday (27/01).

The registration of prisoners started on Tuesday (22/01) and is set to be completed today (23/01).

Mmathabo Rasengane, the commission’s provincial spokesperson, said a con­sultation with the Department of Correctional Services was done during December to pave the way for the registration of prisoners.

She explained that prisoner registration was done due to the Constitutional Court’s ruling, finding that denying all prisoners the right to vote contravened with section 19(3)(a) of the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996).

Rasengane said all inmates who were eligible to vote would do so at correctional centres and would be permitted to apply for registration at facilities where they were at the time.

“They will be seen as ordinary residents in the municipal voting district of the municipality they originate from,” stated Rasengane.

“A booklet comprised of the voting districts generated against the 213 municipalities in the country will be made available.”

She said voter education would be provided to all prisoners within correctional centres to educate and inform them of their right to register and to vote.

Rasengane said dates for voter education would be agreed on with the heads of the correctional facilities where the commission would later erect the voting stations.

  • Voter registration for the public will continue this weekend, on Saturday (26/01) and Sunday (27/01).

The commission has made a clarion call for eligible voters to register at the various voting stations and said voters could also verify their details that it indeed appeared on the voters’ roll.

Only registered voters whose names appear on the voters’ roll will be able to cast their vote during the provincial and national election later this year.

There are 1 529 voting stations in the Free State, where voters should register and check their details this weekend.

According to the commission, there are 1 438 958 vo­ters on the roll, representing 73,67% of eligible voters.

Jabulani Tshabalala, provincial electoral officer, said the target was to register 8 948 voters this weekend.

During the weekend, stations where voters can register, check their details, update details and check if they are registered, will be open from 08:00 to 17:00.

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