IEC clears the air: ‘You don’t need to produce a vaccination certificate or be vaccinated to vote’

20 October 2021 - 11:00
The Electoral Commission says voters do not have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when they head to voting stations on November 1. File photo.
The Electoral Commission says voters do not have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when they head to voting stations on November 1. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The Electoral Commission (IEC) has cleared the air on rumours that voters must be vaccinated before heading to the polls on November 1. 

This week the IEC reassured citizens that it won’t impose a vaccine mandate on registered voters. 

“Rumour has it that you need to be vaccinated to vote in the local government elections. The truth is you do not need to produce a vaccination certificate or be vaccinated to vote,” the IEC said on its social media page.

The commission reminded voters that to vote they need to be a citizen, have an identity document and be registered.

During the voter registration weekend last month, the IEC’s chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said vaccination was not linked to the right to vote.

“We are implementing non-pharmaceutical interventions at voting stations. It is not mandatory for you to be vaccinated to vote,” he said

In recommendations made by the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee (MAC) and  made public by the Department of Health last week, the committee said the IEC should consider offering vaccinations at voting stations. 

“Efforts to encourage vaccine uptake in the period leading to elections should be increased. Consideration should be given to identifying vaccination opportunities, such as offering vaccinations at voting stations,” it said. 

The MAC also suggested that the curfew should be relaxed and alcohol sales should be limited on election day.

It recommended limitations on the number of people allowed at gatherings must be applied consistently to all pre-election activities, including rallies and campaign events. 

“However, on election day, such limits and curfews should be relaxed to allow all eligible voters to cast their ballots before midnight,” it said.


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