File picture: Oupa Mokoena
File picture: Oupa Mokoena

Elections 2021: How to vote in municipal elections

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Oct 31, 2021

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Cape Town - With local government elections around the corner, it is important to know all there is to know before making an informed decision.

We have compiled a list of answers to questions you have asked before around the upcoming election.

What are municipal elections?

South Africa's municipal elections will be held on November 1, 2021, to elect councils for all district, metropolitan and local municipalities in each of the country's nine provinces.

In Municipal Elections, you vote for a political party and a ward councillor (a mixed system of PR and a ward constituency system) to get seats at the municipal level.

How to vote in municipal elections?

On election day, go to the voting station at which you're registered. Make sure to check your voter registration status to find out where you're registered.

During national and provincial elections, you can vote at any station countrywide, but if you vote at a station outside the province in which you're registered, you can only vote in the national election.

You will then be instructed to show your green, bar-coded, South African ID book or a temporary identification certificate to the voting officer.

The voting officer checks that your name appears on the voters' roll.

However, if you are not on the voters' roll but have proof that you have registered (e.g. registration sticker), the Presiding Officer must validate your proof of registration.

If the voting officer is satisfied with the proof, you must complete a VEC4 form (for national elections) or MEC7 form (for municipal elections). You will then be allowed to continue as an ordinary voter.

Once the voting officer is satisfied that you have the correct ID, that you are a registered voter and have not already voted, your name is marked off the roll, your ID is stamped, and your thumbnail is inked.

You are then given a stamped official ballot paper/s.

Take your ballot paper/s to an empty ballot booth, mark the ballot paper, fold it so that your choice isn't visible and place the ballot paper in the ballot box.

It is worth noting that you can only vote once in each election.

If you are physically disabled or visually impaired, you can choose someone to help you at the voting station.

The Presiding Officer can also help you cast your vote, but an observer and, if available, two agents from different parties must be present.

If you incorrectly mark a ballot paper and realise this before placing the paper in the ballot box, ask the Presiding Officer for a new ballot paper.

Make sure that the incorrect ballot paper is marked as "cancelled".

How many ballot papers for local government election?

If you live in a metropolitan area (e.g. Johannesburg), you will receive two ballots. You will get one for a ward councillor and one for a party. If you live in a local council with wards, you will receive three ballots: one for a ward councillor for the Local Council; one for a party for the Local Council; and one for a party for the District Council.

Where do I vote for municipal elections?

If you are within South Africa, you need to vote at the voting station where you're registered to vote. Check your voter registration status to find out which voting station you're registered to vote at.

If you're outside your voting district on Election Day, you may vote at another voting station in South Africa. Use the Voting Station Finder to find your correct station.

If you're outside the province where you're registered, you'll only be able to vote in the national election and not the provincial election.

If you are out of the country during election time, you need to vote at the South African embassy, high commission or consulate-general you selected when you submitted your VEC10 notification of your intention to vote abroad.

You must have an approved VEC10 in order to vote outside South Africa. Find out how to register and vote abroad.

When does voting start?

Voting starts at 7am on November 1 and ends at 9pm on the same day.

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