Voter registration rate down from 2014

Electoral Commission encourages young voters to make use of “short window of opportunity”

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Photo of voting station
74.5% of people eligible to vote have registered for the 2019 national elections. This is down from 80.5% in 2014. Photo: Masixole Feni

The proportion of South Africans eligible to vote who have registered for the 2019 national election has dropped substantially from 2014.

After the final registration weekend in 2014, 25.3 million people registered to vote out of an estimated 31.4 million eligible people. While the number of registered voters in 2019 has increased to 26.7 million, the eligible population has increased to about 35.9 million. This puts the registration rate at 74.5% in 2019, well below the 80.5% in 2014.

In a statement released on Tuesday the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was “concerned” that the majority of those not registered are under 30 years old. “The Electoral Commission hopes young voters will make use of the short window of opportunity ahead of the proclamation to still register at local IEC offices,” the statement read. The proclamation is expected some time in February.

Several young people at the final voter registration in Mfuleni told GroundUp they had chosen not to register. “The quality of the houses we get is appalling. We still get second-rate education at schools and poor service at government hospitals and clinics,” one man told us. The weekend added over 700,000 new voters to the roll, with 81% (574,899) of those under 30 years old.

Gauteng has the most registered voters with 6.4 million people. KwaZulu-Natal has 5.5 million registered voters; Eastern Cape, 3.4 million; Western Cape, 3.1 million; Limpopo, 2.6 million; Mpumalanga, 1.9 million; North West, 1.7 million; Free State, 1.5 million and Northern Cape 626,000.

The Commission said it will be conducting registration drives at universities in early February and that it will keep pushing for voter registration “until the last possible moment”.

Voters between 30 and 39 years make up the biggest chunk of registered voters. Graphic: IEC

TOPICS:  Elections Elections 2019

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