CAMPAIGN UPDATE – 07 November 2018:
We have been informed that our Private Members Bill asking for better access to voting abroad, including more voting stations, is currently before the Home Affairs portfolio committee for review. You can help them decide to support this PMB by signing our petition showing your support. If you haven’t already signed the petition then please do so now, and then share to all South Africans abroad so we can get enough signatures to convince the portfolio committee that they need to pass this bill. https://petitions.da.org.za/p/overseasvoting2019
We know that many South Africans living abroad still care very much for the country of their birth, and while they may have many different reasons for being overseas, they still deserve to be able to cast their vote where they live.
This is why the DA introduced a private member’s bill that seeks to change the Electoral Act to allow South Africans living overseas to vote close to where they live, rather than having to cast their votes at a South African embassy, high commission or consulate in their host country, as is the case now.
Please sign our petition to show your support for our private members bill which seeks to gain better access to voting for South Africans abroad.
As stated in the notice of intention, with the right to vote forming the foundation for all democratic political process in South Africa, it is imperative that registration and voting mechanisms be as broad and inclusive as possible. Currently, however, the mechanisms in place for overseas based voters are falling short of this standard.
As such, the draft Bill will provide for:
- Voting stations overseas to not be limited to consulates, embassies or high commissions, allowing for more remote voters to be able to vote without travelling great distances.
- All South African citizens to be permitted to register to vote on production of a valid ID document only.
- The day designated for overseas casting of votes to necessarily fall on a weekend.
- Vote counting procedures to properly account for differences in time zones when considering deadlines.
- Voters ordinarily based overseas to be provided with provincial ballots as well as national ballots.
The DA Abroad welcomes this action by the DA. Over a year ago, we submitted to the IEC a number of amendments to the current legislation to improve access to voting for those abroad, which included the requirements listed above. We are aware that the IEC have submitted an Electoral Laws Amendment Bill to Parliament, but the latest version has not been shared with the DA – we are concerned that the required amends have not been included, and if included that they have not been submitted in time to be passed and implemented in advance of the elections.
This has all simply been left too late, and action has not been taken swiftly enough to address the issues preventing South Africans from being able to register and vote overseas.
Please sign this petition today to show your support for the DA’s Private Members Bill to allow for more convenient voting for all South Africans living abroad. Every signature will reflect the support for our Private Members Bill and help convince the Parliamentary Review Committee that this Electoral Amendment Bill should be passed.