How to register and vote abroad
The Electoral Amendment Act 2013 (see Electoral Act 73 of 1998 including Regulations) gives all South African citizens the right to register and vote abroad (national elections only).
Can I vote abroad?
If you are a registered voter and either live abroad or will be abroad on election day in South Africa, and you have valid South African ID as well as a valid South African passport (valid temporary passports are also accepted), you are eligible to vote abroad. However, you must also submit a VEC10 during the period specified in the election timetable (15 days from the date on which the election is proclaimed) notifying us of your intention to vote abroad.
How do I vote abroad?
Step 1: Confirm registration
Confirm your registration status online at www.elections.org.za/content/For-voters/My-voter-registration-details.
If you live abroad, but previously registered in South Africa, you are still registered. When checking your registration details, you may see a message that indicates that you're required to re-register due to changes to your voting district boundaries, but this message only applies to voters living in South Africa. Registered voters now living abroad are not required to re-register.
Step 2: Notify us of your intention to vote abroad
You must notify us of your intention to vote abroad, and select the foreign mission at which you intend to vote by submitting a VEC10 notification during the period specified in the election timetable (15 days from the date on which the election is proclaimed). You must submit the VEC10 even if you register abroad and intend to vote where you registered. If you do not submit a VEC10 before the deadline specified in the election timetable, you will not be able to vote.
Once you have submitted a VEC10, you can check the status of your VEC10 notification online.
Step 3: Vote
If you submit your VEC10 and it is approved, you will be able to vote at the foreign mission you selected.
- Take both your green, bar-coded South African ID book; smartcard ID; or valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) AND your valid South African passport or temporary passport to the foreign mission indicated on the confirmation we sent you via email or text. You can only cast your vote on the date specified in the election timetable. Under no circumstances can votes be cast on any other date.
- Your thumbnail is marked with indelible ink.
- Your ID book is stamped.
- You receive the national ballot paper.
- You mark the ballot in secret, place and seal the ballot in the unmarked envelope given to you.
- The unmarked envelope is placed in another envelope that is marked with your name and ID number. The use of two envelopes is to ensure the secrecy of your ballot (the outer envelope is discarded before counting).
- The envelope is placed in a secure ballot box for special votes.
Can I vote before I leave South Africa?
If you live in South Africa and are a registered voter, but will be abroad on the day that voting takes place in South Africa, you can either vote abroad on the date specified in the timetable (usually a week before Election Day in SA), or you can apply for a special vote. A special vote allows you to vote at your voting station in South Africa on the date/s specified in the election timetable (usually a day or two before Election Day).
To apply for a special vote, you must make an appointment at the local IEC office responsible for your voting district. Special votes applications are only accepted during the period specified in the election timetable (available after an election has been proclaimed). Under no circumstances can special votes be cast on any date other than the date/s specified in the timetable.