Photo: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS

Local Elections: Do I need to bring my own pen to vote on Monday?

A new IEC directive is asking voters to bring their own pens to voting stations for the Local Elections – but what happens if you don’t?


Photo: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS

‘The pandemic has made us rethink everything, even pens’, reads an updated message from the Independent Electoral Commission, posted on Wednesday afternoon. With the Local Elections now just FOUR days away, our first ballot in the age of COVID-19 is ready to kick off – and the IEC says it is committed to ensuring voter safety.

Local Elections: Will I need my own pen to vote?

The Commission has implored the electorate, where possible, to bring their own pens with them when they go to the voting booth on Monday 1 November. Though usually not a directive, the IEC believes this could help to prevent the spread of the virus across various parts of the country. However, this isn’t a mandatory requirement.

Thankfully for the forgetful amongst us – and those who can ‘never find a pen when you need one’ – the IEC will still provide any voter with a pen, but when they are handed back, they’ll be subject to a strict regiment of sanitisation.

Will I be given a pen at the voting booth?

Essentially, the suggestion is one of convenience: By bringing one for yourself, you won’t face a possible scenario of delays caused by ‘pen sanitisation’, and you could also play your part in keeping South Africa safe on the big day.

“The pandemic has made us rethink everything! Voters are encouraged to bring their own pens to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If a voter forgets to bring their own, the Electoral Commission will provide one for them.”

“The pens provided at voting stations will be sanitised after each use, but voters are still welcome to bring their own to vote safe, should they choose to do so.”

IEC via Twitter

Bringing your own? Anything simple, anything generic will do

The IEC hasn’t yet put down limitations for what colour or type of pens will be allowed, but the more generic the better. Aim for black ink, and something that doesn’t ‘overdo’ things. If you’re going to bring your own, keep it simple.