Election officials will accept three forms of official identification to register and vote in the next year’s national and provincial elections: a green bar-coded ID book, a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) and the new smartcard ID.
In terms of legislation, aspirant voters must produce a valid South African identity document when registering to vote and when voting. For most people this means the traditional green bar-coded ID book or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) issued by the Department of Home Affairs to those who have lost or not yet received their ID book.
These forms of ID will continue to be accepted by the IEC including during the voter registration drive at voting stations around the country on 9 and 10 November 2013.
When presented at a voting station, the bar-code in the ID book or on the TIC is scanned by the zip-zip machine which captures the person’s ID number and links it to the specific voting district where the person is registering. The zip-zip machine then prints a bar-code sticker confirming the date, time and voting district where the person registered which is stuck into the person’s ID book or onto their TIC as proof of registration.
But this year, for the first time ever, a third form of ID will also be accepted – namely the brand new smartcard ID being launched by the Department of Home Affairs in July and being piloted among special groups of South Africans including the elderly.
“Accommodating the new smartcard IDs has not been difficult,” explained Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya. “It contains a bar-code with the holder’s ID number just like the ID book. So we scan the smartcard with the zip-zip just like we would an ID book.”
The only change has been in finding a way to provide the person with their proof of registration. “Obviously there is no place on the smartcard ID to stick the bar-code sticker with the person’s registration details. So we will be sticking this on a printout which the person can take with them and keep in a safe place,” Mr Moepya explained.
South Africa’s 22 263 voting stations will be open from 8am to 5pm on Saturday 9 November and Sunday 10 November for new registrations, changes to registrations (those who have moved voting districts since the last election) and for voters who would like to verify their details.
The IEC is hoping to register over 2 million new voters ahead of the national and provincial elections scheduled to take place in the first second quarter of 2014, bringing the number of registered voters to 25 million or 80% of eligible voters.