Cape Town - Voters who are physically infirm, disabled, pregnant, out of the country or working on election day can apply from today for permission to cast a “special vote” during this year’s elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said yesterday applications for “special votes” in this year’s national and provincial elections will be open today until April 17.

Local IEC offices will be open between 9am and 5pm to receive applications.

Voters who are eligible to cast a “special vote” are people who:

* Cannot travel to a voting station because they are physically infirm, disabled or pregnant.

* Are working as officers serving in the election or a member of the security services on duty in connection with the elections.

* Or will be out of the country on voting day.

Only South Africans who are registered to vote can apply for a “special vote”.

IEC spokeswoman Kate Bapela said the special votes will be cast on May 5 and 6.

These votes will be cast at voting stations where the voter is registered. If a voter is unable to make it to the voting station, due to physical infirmity, disability or pregnancy, a home visit will be organised.

Elections officials will visit these voters at home on the two “special vote” days then.

Voters who want to apply for a special vote will have to fill out a VEC 1 form, which they can download from the IEC’s website.

In the form voters will have to declare the reason why they are applying for a “special vote”.

The forms must be handed in to IEC local offices in person and cannot be faxed, e-mailed or posted. Only voters who applied before the special voting days will be allowed to vote.

The rest of those registered to vote will cast their ballot on May 7.

Cape Times