In exactly eight days, millions of South Africans will go to the polls to make their mark in the 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

A total of 26 744 565 South Africans are registered to vote.

The National and Provincial Elections, which take place every five years, are an important way for people to decide on the country’s future. They also provide an opportunity for voters to put to use their constitutional rights.

The National and Provincial Elections are two different elections to choose representatives to the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures respectively. Although they are different elections, they are held on the same day.

With this year’s ballot touted as being the most hotly contested vote since the dawn of democracy in 1994, every eligible South African is urged to vote to decide the country’s future.

Still not sure what will happen on the day?

8 May has been declared Voting Day. As such, it will be a public holiday.

You will need to visit the voting station where you’re registered to vote. You can double check where you are registered by SMSing your ID Number to 32810 (R1.00 per SMS) or log into www.elections.org.za.

If you happen to be outside the province where you’re registered, you will only be able to vote in the national election but not the provincial election.

You may be required to provide proof of registration (application sticker pasted on your ID when you applied for registration) if the zip-zip scanner is unable to verify your registration. You will also have to complete a form (VEC 4) at the voting station.

Voters need to take their South African identity document (ID) – either a green bar-coded ID book, smart ID card or valid temporary ID certificate to the correct voting station.

At the station, you will need to present your valid identification document to the door controller at the entrance.

The voting officer checks that your name appears on the voters’ roll. 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 s/he is satisfied with the proof, you must complete a VEC4 form (National Elections) and you will then be allowed to continue as an ordinary voter.

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

You will get your identification documents stamped and your thumbnail is marked with indelible ink.

Since it is National and Provincial Elections, you will be given two ballot papers to choose for political parties to represent you at the different structures of government.

For example, the National Government ballot paper will allow you to make your mark for the political party that you want to make and carry out laws and policies for the whole country. It is made up of Parliament (led by the Speaker) and National Government, led by the President and Ministers.

The Provincial Government ballot paper, on the other hand, will allow you to choose a party which will make and carry out laws and policies that affect the province only. It is made up of the Legislature, led by the speaker, and Provincial Government, led by the Premier and Members of the Executive Council (MECs).

After being given the two ballot papers, you will then proceed to an empty voting booth to make your ‘X’ next to the political party of your choice on your ballot paper.

You will fold your ballot papers so that your choice isn’t visible and place the ballot paper in two separate ballot boxes.

Voting hours are from 07:00 to 21:00 and counting will begin as soon as the voting stations close.

According to IEC statistics, of the 26.74 million registered voters, 14 716 879 are women (55%), which is 4% above the demographic split of the South African population, based on 2018 Midyear Population Estimates.

The provinces with the highest number of registered voters are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

In terms of age, the biggest category of voters are those aged 30 – 39 years old (6 685 472), which represents 24.99% of the roll.

The IEC has confirmed that a total of 48 political parties are contesting the elections.