A bill providing for all South Africans to be allowed to register to vote on production of a valid ID has been tabled in parliament.
The Electoral Amendment Bill, a private member’s bill, was drafted by Michael Waters, a Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament.
The bill seeks to amend the Electoral Act of 1998 in order to:
• apply a single standard of identification to all South African voters;
• provide for increased geographical coverage of registration and voting stations in foreign countries with significant numbers of eligible voters;
• provide for voting to take place on weekends;
• provide for time zones to be taken into account when setting deadlines for receipt and counting of votes from citizens ordinarily resident at a place outside the Republic;
• provide for special votes in elections for a provincial legislature of persons ordinarily resident outside the Republic; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
The DA holds the view that it is vital that registration and voting mechanisms be as broad and inclusive as possible.
Currently, in the DA’s opinion, the mechanisms in place for overseas based voters fall short of this standard.
Clause 1 of the bill aims to amend section 6 of the electoral act by repealing the requirement for a citizen living overseas to also produce a passport when applying to register as a voter.
The bill will now be processed by the portfolio committee on home affairs.