A guide to voting in South Africa

The voting process. Picture: IEC

The voting process. Picture: IEC

Published May 28, 2024


As South Africans prepare for the upcoming elections, it is essential for voters to understand the voting process to ensure a fair and transparent election.

This guide outlines the steps and protocols to follow on election day, as stipulated by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

Step 1 — Locate Your Voting Station

First things first, on election day, you have to go to the voting station where you're registered.

You can check your voter registration status online to find out where you're registered.

Step 2 — Present Your Identification

Show your green, bar-coded South African ID book, ID card or a temporary identification certificate to the voting officer at the station to verify your identity against the details on the IEC system.

Step 3 — Voter Verification

The voting officer will verify that your name appears on the voters' roll. They will also check to ensure you have not already voted.

Step 4 — ID Stamping and Inking

Once confirmed as a registered voter with the correct ID, your name will be marked off the voters' roll. If you present your ID book, it will be stamped on the second page, and your thumbnail will be inked to indicate you have voted.

Step 5 — Receiving Ballot Papers

The voting officer will stamp the back of the correct number of official ballot papers and hand them to you. There will be three official ballot papers used for this year's elections. These are the National Ballot, Regional or Province-to-National Ballot and Provincial Ballot papers. Only stamped ballot papers will be counted to make sure all your ballots are stamped.

Step 6 — Casting Your Vote

Take your ballot papers to an empty ballot booth. Mark your ballot paper(s) according to your choice. Fold the ballot paper(s) to conceal your choice and place them in the ballot box. The IEC will provide pens for you to vote, no need to carry your own.

If you incorrectly mark a ballot paper and realise this before placing it in the ballot box, ask the Presiding Officer for a new ballot paper. Ensure that the incorrect ballot paper is marked as "cancelled." Once your ballot is placed in the ballot box, it cannot be removed.

The IEC encourages citizens to object if a voter is given too many ballot papers, is refused a ballot paper, or if they have complaints about the conduct of a voting officer, party agent, or any other person present. Click here for more detailed information on how to lodge an objection.

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