South Africa: Electoral Act

Glenda Fick, October 1998

See also: Electoral system

The discussion below of the National Common Voters' Roll, the registration of voters, special votes and the declaration votes is based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998.

Chapter 2 of the Electoral Act provides for the national common voters' roll, and the registration of voters. The sections of the Act in this Chapter provide for other matters incidental to these two areas: special votes and declaration votes are canvassed in Part 5 of Chapter 3 of the Act.

National Common Voters' Roll

A national common voters' roll is provided for in section 5 of the Act.

Section 14(1) provides that the Commission must, for the compilation of the voters' roll, conduct a general registration of voters.

An election timetable is set out in Schedule 1 to the Electoral Act. Item 2 of the Schedule provides: 'By [a date still to be determined], the chief electoral officer must publish the voters' roll or the segments of the voters' roll to be used in this election in terms of section 24 (2)'.

However, according to section 25 of the Act, the voters' roll, to be used for the election of the National Assembly and the provincial legislatures in 1999, will be the voters' roll compiled by the Chief Electoral Officer in accordance with section 5 of the Act, and published according to section 14(2)(h) of the Act.

Section 6 of the Electoral Act provides for those persons who may apply for registration as voters as follows:

  • Any South African citizen in possession of an identity document may apply for registration as a voter.
  • For the purposes of the general registration of voters contemplated in section 14, an identity document includes a temporary certificate in the form which corresponds materially with a form prescribed by the Minister of Home Affairs by notice in the Government Gazette and issued by the Director-General of Home Affairs to a South African citizen from particulars contained in the population register and who has applied for an identity document.

Section 7(1) provides for the Application for registration as voter. A person applying for registration as a voter must do so:

  • In the prescribed manner;
  • and only for the voting district in which that person is ordinarily resident.


ELECTORAL ACT 73 1998, includes amendments of 2000 and 2003, [www] [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 26 Feb 2010).