How to make sure you are ready to vote in the 2016 Municipal Elections

The 2016 Municipal Elections take place on 3 August, with the voting stations open between 07:00 and 19:00 on Wednesday – which has been made a public holiday.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa has provided a guide to help South Africans to prepare for the day.

This guide and checklist addresses various aspects of voting, like how to check if you are registered and how to see at which voting station you should vote.


2016 Municipal Elections Checklist

  • You need to be registered to vote (check here)
  • You must vote at the voting station where you registered. To check your voting station:
  • You need your ID – barcoded SA ID book, SmartCard ID, or valid Temporary Identity Certificate.
  • You don’t need proof of address.

Voting Facts


How to vote

  • Election officials will look at your ID document and check for your name on the voters’ roll when you arrive at the voting station.
  • Voting staff will ink your left thumb.
  • If you are registered in a metropolitan municipality you get two ballot papers. If you are registered in a local municipality you get three ballot papers. Make sure your ballot papers are stamped on the back.
  • Place your X in the box next to the ward councillor (ward ballot paper) and the political party (PR ballot paper) of your choice. Then fold your ballot papers and leave the voting booth.
  • If you make a mistake, call an election official to give you a new ballot paper.
  • Voters whose addresses do not appear on the voters’ roll will be asked to complete an address update form.

How to vote


Voting station procedure

The Presiding Officer is the authority at a voting station. Their decisions are final, as long as they are within the parameters of the law.

A Presiding Officer’s decisions can only be reviewed or overturned by the Commission.

What you should do at a voting station

  • Voters must be 18 years or older.
  • May wear political party apparel.

What you should not do at a voting station

  • Do not interrupt the work of voting station staff.
  • Do not bring any weapons to the voting station.
  • Do not campaign for your political party or candidates within the boundaries of the voting station.
  • Do not take a photograph of marked ballot papers.

Comprehensive guide to the voting stations

  • Party volunteers outside the boundary of the voting venue will keep track of how many voters will vote for them. They will probably ask you for some info – not who you are voting for.
  • If you require assistance (on crutches, etc), chat to the IEC officials. Bigger voting stations have IEC-appointed queue-walkers.
  • Bigger voting stations normally have two streams inside the hall – usually split alphabetically based on your surname.
  • An IEC official will use your ID Book or ID SmartCard and their eZiskan machine to find your name on the voters’ roll. Once found, a line is drawn through your record on the hard copy voters’ roll. Sometimes they stamp your ID book.
  • Check that ballot papers are stamped and that there are no markings on them.
  • You will be alone in a voting booth. Only the IEC Presiding Officer may join you in the booth.
  • The IEC ballot box controller will ask to see the back of your ballot papers to ensure that they are stamped. You do not show them your choices.

Take Note

  • Nobody is allowed to influence your choice of ward councillor or political party.
  • No political party advertising may be displayed in the voting station. Officials may not wear their party clothing.
  • The majority of assistants on the premises are volunteers. Do not get upset with them if they ask you a question or two.

The Ballot papers

There are three different types of ballot papers.

  1. Ward ballot paper – has a grey and white background and will have a list of names of candidates contesting that ward.
  2. Council Proportional Representation ballot paper – has a yellow background and lists the political parties contesting for seats in that council. Councillors are appointed from the parties’ PR list of candidates depending on the number of votes the party receives.
  3. District Council Proportional Representation ballot paper – has a green background. Only voters living outside a metro will receive this ballot paper. Councillors are appointed to the district council based on the voting results and the party list.

Big thanks to MyBroadband member MickeyD for his contribution to the article.

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How to make sure you are ready to vote in the 2016 Municipal Elections