Do I Need to Register to Vote Every Election?

do i need to register to vote every election

Voting is one of the most important democratic rights and duties as a citizen and should be seen as such. Following the upcoming 2024 elections, voter registration is underway in all the voting stations on registration weekends.

It is a general rule that a voter must vote at the voting station at which that voter is registered. A common question for some, especially first-time voters, is whether it is required of voters to register for every election. If you are wondering that too, then you are in the right place. 

Do I Need to Register to Vote Every Election?

Voting is a way of exercising one of our rights as citizens. It gives us the freedom to choose the political party that we deem fit to govern our country, province, and municipalities. Voting puts power in the hands of citizens and allows them to use their voices to bring about their choices. You can take action by registering as a voter and this strengthens and bolsters democracy based on your will. 

To be able to vote, however, it is required of you to first register with the Independent Electoral Commission IEC of South Africa. If found to be eligible, you will be registered as a voter so you can take part in any election. With this comes the slight confusion of whether one is to register every time there is an election. 

You only have to register once in your lifetime. Once confirmed as a registered voter, you will be free to vote in all future elections in South Africa. However, there are some instances in which you will be required to re-register. For one, if you happen to change your home address within the country, or your ID number has changed, you will need to re-register yourself as a voter. 

IEC needs the updated data so that you can be able to vote in your new area. It is important to note that you will only be allowed to vote at the voting station that you registered at, so it is beneficial for you to register once you move. Moreover, this helps the electoral body make the entire process easier for all voters with easy access to voting stations and reduces the long queues. 

How Do I Check My Registration Details?

Usually, days before the election date, the IEC carries out a final registration drive allowing those who have not successfully registered to do so before the D-day. You need not worry as the process is simple and will not take much of your time. You are also free to check your registration details by: 

  • Sending an SMS to 32810 with your ID number,
  • Checking your registration details online at  
  • Calling their helpline on 0800 11 8000,
  • Checking your voting station during registration weekend, or
  • Checking at the local IEC office during office hours. 

If you are not registered as a voter, you will not be able to vote. Details of a registered voter are available on the IEC voter’s roll. The voter’s roll is in place to help the commission effectively plan the election as well as prevent voter fraud as it gives the statistics of the number of voters expected at each voting district. 

What Are the Requirements for Voter Registration?

To be eligible as a voter in South Africa, you are required to be a South African citizen, be at least 16 years old, and have a smartcard ID, green barcoded ID book, or temporary identity certificate. With these, you can apply to register as a voter during registration weekends or online. however, you can only vote when you are 18 years of age. 


Now you know that once you have registered, you can take part in any elections in the future. Where necessary, you can re-register to ensure that the IEC captures any new information such as your new home address for ease of planning. It is crucially important that each voter checks where they are registered.

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