Where, how and why to vote

THE IEC website will show you voting stations in your area.

Millions of South Africans will make their way to voting stations in the suburbs that they live in on Monday November 1 for the Local Government Elections.

This will be the sixth municipal elections held in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. Municipal elections are held every five years.

On the Atlantic seaboard, Ward 54 has 19 515 registered voters and Ward 77 has 18 766 registered voters.

The voting stations will be open from 7am and close at 9pm.

If you live in Ward 54 you can vote at Camps Bay club, Sea Fisheries Garages, Ecole Francaise Du Cap, Sea Point High School, Sea Point Primary School, Hellenic Community Centre, Department of Arts Culture and Science John Craig Hall and Clifton Scout Hall.

If you live in Ward 77 you can cast your vote at Schotsche Kloof Primary School, Jan Van Riebeek High School, Good Hope Seminary Junior School, St Cyprians School, Nazareth House and Tamboerskloof Primary School.

To make your vote count, make sure you have the address for the correct voting station for the voting district in which you are registered. If you are not sure where your voting station is, visit www.https://www.elections.org.za and click on “I want to”.

Most voting stations are located in community buildings like local schools, churches or community centres.

An election official will meet you at the entrance of the voting station.

He or she will check that you have a valid identification document, such as a green barcoded ID book, a smart-card ID, or a temporary ID certificate. They will scan this document and present you with a slip that confirms that you are a registered voter.

The official will also tell you when it is your turn to enter the station and will advise where to go once inside the voting station.

Inside you will proceed to the voters-roll table where election officials will take your ID document and check for your name and identity number on the segment of the national common voters roll for that voting district.

Your name will then be crossed off so you can only vote once.

An election official will then ink your left thumbnail. This is a special ink that will not wash off your nail for several days. This ink mark will show everyone that you have participated in the election.

An election official will then hand you your ballot papers – which they will tear off a pad. Each ballot paper has a unique number and you must make sure that there is a stamp at the back of your ballot papers to verify that they were issued to you on that election day.

For national and provincial elections voters generally receive two ballot papers (one for the national and one for the provincial election). For municipal elections, voters in metros and local councils receive two ballot papers (one for a ward councillor and one for a political party as part of the proportional representation (PR) section of the election. Voters in areas that form part of a district council receive a third ballot paper for the district council election.

Your green ID book, if that was your identification document, will then be stamped by an election official to show that you participated in the election.

You will then be directed to an empty voting booth. Here you will place your X in the box next to the political party and/or candidate of your choice.

To avoid a spoilt ballot, ensure that you make only one mark on each ballot paper and that your mark is clear.

If you make a mistake, call an election official and they will provide you with a new ballot paper. When you are finished, fold your ballot papers in half and leave the voting booth.

Just a reminder – you are not allowed to photograph your marked ballot paper, so no selfies.

An election official stationed at the ballot box will check that there is a stamp at the back of each of your ballots. Having made your mark, drop your completed ballot paper through the slot in the top of the ballot box.

After casting your vote, you will then be directed to the exit.

According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), voting gives you an opportunity to be part of decision-making that affects your life and the future of the country. If you don’t vote, others will make the decisions for you.

“History shows that democracies in danger of losing their freedom register frighteningly low voter turnouts. In thriving democracies, people vote in large numbers and the people’s voice remains supreme.”

Reasons why you should vote, according to the IEC:

• Because you can

You may take your right to vote and all other rights in our constitution for granted, but 25 years ago most of the people in our country were not allowed to vote. Many of them were arrested and jailed for demanding this most basic human right. Others were tortured and killed. Because of their sacrifice, today you can vote simply by presenting yourself at a voting station with your ID during a registration event that puts you on the voters’ roll for life, and lets you vote in every future general and by-election in your area.

•2 Elections have consequences

You have the power to decide on the quality of life you want for yourself and your community, and even future generations. Voting is your chance to stand up for the issues you care about. This is your life: take the time to help decide what’s best. Voting – rather than just venting on social media or protesting – is the best way to make your voice heard and make a positive input on the issues that concern you.

•3 Not voting is giving up your voice

Elections are decided by the people who go out and vote. If you don’t vote, someone else will make the decision for you. If you don’t vote you get stuck with other people’s choices – and you can’t even complain about it because you let it happen. By participating in the electoral process as a voter, you get a say in how things are done for the next five years. Your power is in your vote.

•4. It’s your money

You pay taxes (even when you just buy a loaf of bread), but do you know how that money is being spent? Most people don’t. Voting is your chance to choose how your taxes are spent – such as funding for social services, healthcare and schooling.

•5. Democracy needs you

Democracy only works if people participate. That sounds obvious, but unless people actively participate in the process, democracy doesn’t work. It takes constant renewal among citizens to make democracy flourish.

•6. Voting is an opportunity for change

If you’re thinking that right now you’ve got better things to do with your time and you’ll vote next time, think again. Five years is a long time to be stuck with something that you don’t want or doesn’t work. Just imagine what it would be like to be stuck with the same cellphone for five years, especially one with limited features. Just think how many cellphone upgrades you are going to get before you get the chance to upgrade your government.

•7 Our generation knows best

Technology and connectivity means that our generation is probably the best informed and equipped to vote in South Africa’s history. Social media and the internet is giving us access to information which previous generations of voters didn’t have. You are becoming the experts ahead of your parents and grandparents. Use that expertise to make sure our country heads in the right direction.