election 2024

When is the best time to vote in the 2024 general election on Wednesday, 29 May? Image: AFP/Skyler Reid

Election 2024: When is the best time to cast your vote?

Around 27.7 million South Africans have registered to cast their vote in the 2024 general election on Wednesday, 29 May.

election 2024

When is the best time to vote in the 2024 general election on Wednesday, 29 May? Image: AFP/Skyler Reid

Around 27.7 million South Africans have registered to cast their vote in the 2024 general election on Wednesday, 29 May.

Bookmark The South African website’s Elections 2024 hub for the latest news you need to know

While history shows that only around 70% of that number will end up doing so, no one likes to waste a public holiday standing in lengthy queues to mark your ‘X’.

According to IEC data, the vast majority of South Africans head to their allocated voting station early in the morning.

So, if you’re looking to avoid long queues, it may be best to choose a time later in the day.

According to The Outlier website, in 2014, more than half of the people voting had made their mark within the first two hours of polls opening, while in 2019, more than half had voted within the first four hours.

The average time spent queuing for both elections was 16 minutes.

Remember, voting stations will open at 07:00 and close at 21:00.

Anyone in the queue at closing time will be allowed to vote.

CHECKLIST OF ITEMS TO BRING WHEN VOTING

Identification Document

  • Green bar-coded ID book
  • Smart ID card
  • Valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC)

Voter Information Card

  • If you have received a voter information card, bring it along. It’s not mandatory but can help speed up the process.

Comfortable clothing

  • Dress comfortably, considering the weather, as you may need to wait in line.

Water and snacks

  • Bring water and snacks, especially if you expect long waiting times.

Mobile phone

  • This is for entertainment while waiting and in case you need to call for assistance.

Reading glasses

  • If you need them to read the ballot clearly.

VOTING PROCESS AT POLLING STATIONS

Arrival and check-in

  • When you arrive at your designated polling station, you’ll be directed to the check-in area. Here, you’ll present your ID to an election official who will verify your registration.

Receive ballots

  • After verification, you will receive your ballot papers. The 2024 elections include three ballots: one for the national compensatory seats, one for the regional National Assembly seats, and one for provincial legislature seats.

Mark your ballots

  • Proceed to a private voting booth to mark your choices. Follow the instructions on the ballot carefully to ensure your vote is counted correctly. Use the provided pen or pencil to mark your selections.

Submit your ballots

  • Once you’ve marked your ballots, place them in the designated ballot boxes. Ensure you place each ballot in the correct box as indicated by the election officials.

Exit the polling station

  • After submitting your ballots, you can leave the polling station. Make sure to sanitise your hands upon exiting.

TIPS FOR A SMOOTH VOTING EXPERIENCE

Check your polling station

  • Confirm your polling station location ahead of time. You can check this online through the IEC website or via SMS.

Know the candidates and parties

  • Research the candidates and parties beforehand so you are prepared to make informed decisions. This will save time and reduce stress when you are in the voting booth.

Stay informed about health protocols

  • Be aware of the latest health guidelines related to Covid-19. Follow the required protocols, including wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.

Bring a friend or family member

  • If you need assistance or simply want company, bring a friend or family member. They can help with navigating the process or keeping you entertained while waiting.

Be patient and respectful

  • Election day can be busy and sometimes stressful. Be patient with election officials and fellow voters. Respect the rules and procedures in place to ensure a fair and orderly voting process.