aged and disabled voting
Did you know the aged and disabled can vote in 2024 through special dispensation? Archive photo: Masixole Feni

Home » SA national elections 2024: Everything EXPATS need to know about voting

SA national elections 2024: Everything EXPATS need to know about voting

Everything that South African citizens – who wish to vote out-of-country in the next South African national elections – need to know.

21-02-24 08:56
aged and disabled voting
Did you know the aged and disabled can vote in 2024 through special dispensation? Archive photo: Masixole Feni

South African citizens who wish to vote out-of-country in the next South African national elections must be registered to vote, and must be able to produce a South African identity document (ID) when voting at an international voting station at an accredited mission.

As reported by the SAPeople website, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday announced that the 2024 elections will be held on Wednesday, 29 May.

The day has also been declared a public holiday.

Which elections can South Africans vote in abroad?

By law, South Africans abroad can only vote in South Africa’s national elections.

They cannot vote in the provincial elections, regional elections for National Assembly, or municipal elections.

Why should you vote in the South Africa’s national elections if you live abroad?

Because each and every citizen has the right to vote in South Africa’s elections, and the responsibility to participate in making decisions for its future. It’s your democracy, own it!

Do you qualify to vote abroad?

You can vote abroad if you:

– Are a registered voter;

– Are 18 years of age (you can register to vote from age 16);

– Have a valid South African ID (green barcoded ID book, OR a smartcard ID, OR a valid Temporary Identity Certificate).

Voter registration out-of-country

South African citizens who wish to vote in South Africa’s next national elections must be registered to vote by proclamation of the election date by the President of the Republic (not just the announcement of the election date).

First-time voters who are not currently on South Africa’s voters’ roll must register online or in-person at their nearest accredited South African mission.

Click for a full list of South Africa’s missions accredited as international voting stations.

Voters who were previously registered and moved abroad are still registered to vote and can either re-register online at their nearest accredited mission, or can submit an online special vote application (VEC 10) to vote out-of-country at the international voting station of their choice (for example, if a voter is only travelling temporarily to a different country).

When is voting day for citizens out-of-country?

By law, citizens can only vote out-of country abroad on the date specified in the election timetable, which is typically 10 days before voting day in-country. Please keep following us here, on our social channels @IECSouthAfrica, or in the media for updates.

Applying for a special vote out-of-country

Voting out-of-country is considered a special vote. In a change from previous years, not all voters who intend voting out-of-country are required to apply for a special vote online, known as a VEC 10 application.

A voter who is registered to vote out-of-country and intends voting at the accredited mission where they are registered to vote, is NOT required to submit an online VEC 10 special vote application.

Only voters who will be voting at an accredited mission that they are not registered to vote at, are required to submit an online VEC 10 special vote application. The completion of this form informs the Electoral Commission of their intention to vote abroad by indicating the mission at which they will be voting, once the date of the national election is proclaimed.

Check your voter registration

To check that you’re registered and to find out where you’re registered, you can:

  • Visit the official website here
  • SMS your ID number to 32810 (if in South Africa)
  • Call the Electoral Commission’s helpline on 0800 11 800 (if in South Africa).

How do I submit a VEC 10 notification?

You can submit a VEC 10 to notify the Electoral Commission of your intention to vote out-of-country at an accredited mission that you are NOT registered to vote at, on the predetermined date only, as per the election timetable, in one of the following ways:

  • Here, using our secure online notification form (available here after proclamation as per the election timetable)
  • Hand delivery of a printed form, by downloading the VEC 10 form and submit it via hand delivery to the Electoral Commission’s national in Pretoria at:
    Election House
    Riverside Office Park
    1303 Heuwel Avenue
    Centurion
    0157

You will receive a notification receipt, notifying you of the outcome once your application has been processed.

Please check the status of your online special vote out-of-country VEC 10 notification online by clicking on the button below. (available here after proclamation as per the election timetable)

What happens when I cast a special vote out-of-country?

Registered citizens will vote as follows out-of-country:

  • Your thumbnail is marked with indelible ink.
  • Your ID book or Temporary Identity Certificate is stamped (if you’re voting with an ID smartcard this will not be stamped).
  • You receive a national election ballot paper.
  • You mark the ballot in secret, place and seal the ballot in an unmarked envelope.
  • The unmarked envelope is placed in another envelope that is marked with your name, ID number and the name of the accredited mission where you voted. The use of two envelopes is to ensure the secrecy of your ballot (the outer envelope is discarded before counting).
  • Election officials take the envelope and place it in a secure ballot box for special votes.
  • Your name is marked off the voters’ roll for your mission to indicate that you have cast a special vote.