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Your vote does count in 2014… so make sure you’re ready!

The end of apartheid saw our first truly democratic elections in 1994. The Bill of Rights, a key part of our famously progressive constitution, ensures universal adult suffrage - the democratic right to have your vote counted. And in 2009 our Constitutional Court extended that privilege to South Africans living abroad if they are registered voters.

Not only is it our right to vote, it’s our responsibility. Our country has come a long way, and many people have made tremendous sacrifices to get us here - we owe it to them to vote.The 2014 presidential elections are also especially significant as those born after apartheid’s end in 1994 - the born frees - will get their first opportunity to have their voices heard. It’ll be their first chance to vote for all that they love about South Africa. To Vote for Home.Voting in 2014 matters.South Africa has a proportional representation system, which means that the more votes a party gets, the more seats they will get in parliament.And because of the way percentages work, if you’re an opposition voter and decide not to vote, the majority party automatically gets a higher percentage of seats.The opposition vote is key in protecting the constitution. Not voting in such a system as ours could increase the ruling party’s parliamentary majority to over 66%, giving them the ability to change the constitution however they wish.Let's do a little math.For the sake of the example, we accept that only ten voters had cast their votes. The percentage of parliamentary members which each party receives is then calculated out of ten votes. If the ANC had obtained six votes and the opposition four, the ANC will get 60% of the parliamentary members in Cape Town or in a provincial legislature and the opposition gets 40%.If one opposition voter stays away, the ANC has still obtained six votes while the opposition now only has three votes. The calculation is then done out of nine and no longer ten. The ANC has six out of nine votes or 66%. Without the ANC obtaining more votes, the ANC suddenly has 6% more parliamentary members in Cape Town or in a provincial legislature. The stay-away-voter therefore caused the ANC to improve its performance!The opposite also holds true. If the opposition voters turn out to vote, the ANC’s support will fall dramatically below 66%. We cannot guarantee that members of parliament will not always vote along party lines and so it is important to ensure that no party gets more than the majority seats (more than 66%).Every vote adds up to change. The balance of power in our country has been shifting from one party having an almost absolute majority to a thriving democracy with a strong opposition. And the vote of South Africans living abroad could really help add momentum to that positive trend.So, please ensure that you're registered to vote and have your ID book with you wherever in the world you may be. Closer to the election date the IEC will make an announcement on how we should notify them of our intention to vote overseas. Keep checking the VOTE HOME Facebook page for updates and sign up for our email alerts to ensure you don't miss out.

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