Open voter registration, not candidate lists – IRR

6 September 2021 - The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) calls on civil society and the news media to lead the drive to urge South Africans to register to vote. This is always important, all the more so during this election cycle in which the dominant party is effectively broke and the registration process has been repressed.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) calls on civil society and the news media to lead the drive to urge South Africans to register to vote. This is always important, all the more so during this election cycle in which the dominant party is effectively broke and the registration process has been repressed.

Voters must now be allowed to register to vote, or change the address where their vote is counted, by order of the Constitutional Court. The court declared that the August 3 “proclamation” was “unconstitutional, invalid and is set aside”. (When the proclamation was made, the IRR judged that it was illegal, and an act of voter suppression, and that the Constitutional Court would rescind it if possible.)

Now, in practical terms, the Electoral Commission (IEC) must reopen online registration and allow people to register “at the relevant municipal office”, at least until Friday, September 10.

Today the IEC must also, by order of the Constitutional Court, say whether it will be able to host a voter registration weekend in time to update the voters’ roll for this year’s election. The IEC told the court in sworn papers that it could hold a registration weekend on 18 and 19 September and that it had standing arrangements to do so.

According to an IRR analysis of past and present election schedules, a September 18 registration weekend would allow enough time to vet and ratify the voters’ roll before the election deadline.

As a secondary matter, the Constitutional Court dismissed the EFF’s “conditional application for relief”, in which the party sought a ruling to lift the ban on gatherings above 100 persons and to “extend the date of the party nomination lists”. The Constitutional Court said no to both. The IEC cannot now say yes to the ANC’s request that the candidate lists be reopened.

Said IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse: “The Electoral Commission said it was short on time – that was the whole thrust of its argument – so it cannot waste more time hearing the ANC whine about its own blunder. It is painful to think of all those ANC staff that have not been paid, but the Electoral Commission has a job to do and a duty to uphold. The priority must be to get people to register to vote; that is the South African thing to do, and we call on all South Africans to amplify the message: register now!”

 
Media contact: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za
Kelebogile Leepile Tel: 079 051 0073 Email: kelebogile@irr.org.za

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