South African expats will tomorrow head to the country’s high commissions, embassies and consulates-general around the world to cast their votes in the national and provincial elections.
The date, 27 April, coincides with exactly 25 years to the day South Africans first voted in the first democratic elections in 1994.
The Independent Electoral Commission, in a statement on Thursday, said overseas voting will continue for almost 24 hours as voting stations open and then close around the world following the passage of the sun – beginning in Auckland, New Zealand and ending in the Los Angeles, United States.
“The 29 334 voters who received approval to vote overseas are required to visit the mission indicated on their application and take with them their South African ID document – either a green bar-coded ID, a smartcard ID or a valid temporary ID certificate – and their valid passport,” the Commission said.
This year the voting process has been simplified and voters will no longer be required to complete a special vote application form before voting.
Once they have voted, their ballot is sealed in a double envelope and all ballots are placed in sealed diplomatic bags which will be transported back to the National Office of the Electoral Commission over the coming week.
“At the close of voting on Election Day in South Africa at 9 pm on 8 May 2019, the returned overseas ballots will be opened by election officials, counted and added to the national ballot count for each party in the national elections. This takes place under the scrutiny of observers and party agents. Overseas voters only vote in the national and not provincial elections,” read the statement.
Voting is conducted by South African diplomats who have been trained as election staff by the Electoral Commission – although a number of senior Electoral Commission staff have also been deployed to high-density overseas voting sites such as London and Dubai.