Key Changes in the 2024 South African Elections
Michelle Hinrichsen
April 8, 2024

As we approach the 2024 elections in South Africa, voters will encounter significant updates to the voting process. These changes, set by the Electoral Amendment Act signed in April 2023 and a key decision by the Constitutional Court in 2020, are designed to make this year’s elections more inclusive, allowing for a wider range of choices for voters.

Here’s the three key changes in the 2024 South African elections you need to know about:

1. Independent Candidates Can Now Run

A groundbreaking update for this election is the ability for independent candidates, or individuals not affiliated with any political party, to run for positions in both national assembly and provincial legislature. This move opens the door for a more diverse group of candidates to represent the people of South Africa.

2. Introducing a Three Ballot Voting System

The voting process sees a major change with the introduction of a three-part ballot system. This new approach is aimed at accommodating independent candidates and ensuring everyone's vote counts more effectively. You can read about this in more detail here.

  1. Regional Ballot for the National Assembly: This is where you vote for specific candidates in your area, including those not tied to any party. It's similar to choosing local representatives in town elections.
  1. Proportional Representation (PR) Ballot for the National Assembly: On this national-level ballot, you only choose between parties. The number of votes a party gets here decides how many seats they have in the Assembly.
  1. Provincial Legislature Ballot: Like the regional ballot, this one lets you pick candidates, including independents, who will work in your province's government.

3. Voting and Registration Changes

New rules now require you to vote at the place where you're registered, aiming to keep the voting process smooth and accurate. If you need to vote somewhere else, you must let the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) know ahead of time.

4. Making It Easier for Overseas Voters

Changes also make it simpler for South Africans living abroad to vote. If you're planning to vote at an international voting station where you're not registered, you need to apply online for a special vote using the VEC 10 form by 11:59 PM on 22 April 2024.

Wrapping Up

The 2024 elections mark a significant step forward in making South Africa's electoral system more open and diverse. These changes are all about giving voters more options and ensuring that a broader range of voices can be part of our government. As the election nears, it's important for all voters to understand these updates to make informed choices at the polls.

To find out who will be on the ballot on May 29th, click here.

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