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Elections 2014: Expat voting underway

Thousands of South Africans are voting in the 2014 elections at IEC centres around the world.

South African national queue in Trafalgar Square in London as they get ready to vote on 30 April 2014. Picture: Gerard Pilz/iWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says voting is proceeding well in several countries around the world as South Africans make their mark today.

Voting is underway in parts of Africa , Europe and Asia.

Ballot papers and official seals have been sent across six continents to as far afield as Australia, the US, Europe and the Middle East.

South African national queue up outside the South African Embassy in Dubai to vote on 30 April 2014. Picture: via Twitter @Sticklebean

But in Australia, the South African High Commission in Africa, the third largest overseas voting station after London and Dubai, has been flooded with complaints from prospective voters.

Less than one percent of the more than 145,000 South Africans living in Australia are registered to vote in the elections.

The South African High Commission in Canberra says only 1,200 people are expected to pass through their voting room with its three cardboard polling booths today.

Although a few voters have travelled all the way from Perth, over 3,000 kilometres away, many simply haven't been able to muster the resources to make the journey.

High commission officials say they sympathise with voters as they wanted everyone to be able to exercise their democratic rights but the decision was out of their hands.

Polling will continue until 9pm local time after which boxes will be sealed and sent to South Africa.

Meanwhile, almost 10,000 South Africans have registered to vote at the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square.

The polls are open for 14 hours with embassy staff acting as election officials reminding voters to bring their IDs and passports.

It coincides with a strike by transport workers in the capital which is feared may put some people off.

To a smaller extent, there are similar scenes in other cities.

VOTERS SHARE EXPERIENCES

A South African living in Australia said she drove for three hours to a voting station in Canberra to cast her ballot in this year's general elections.

South African national queue up outside the South African Embassy in London to vote on 30 April 2014. Picture: via Twitter @Ludre

It's the third largest overseas voting station after London and Dubai.

Wendy Gain who has been living in that country for almost three years said she cast her ballot a short while ago.

"The process was the same as in South Africa."

She said it was her civic duty.

"The most important part was doing my part in casting my vote."

A woman who voted at the South African High Commission in Kuala Lumpur said she had a wonderful experience.

"The atmosphere was wonderful and although there was a short queue everyone was very excited."

The first South Africans arrive to vote at the South African Embassy in Doha, Qatar on 30 April 2014. Picture: @DA_Abroad

The first voting station opened last night South African time in Wellington, New Zealand where 406 voters are registered.

Around the world, opening and closing times will be the same except in Finland where voting stations will close at lunch due to a national festival.

South Africans pose outside the South African Liaison Office in Taiwan before voting on 30 April 2014. Picture: via Twitter @LauraGoble

Around 1,500 South Africans living in the US are expected to cast their ballots today.

The consulate generals in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles will be closed for all other business, but will stay open for an extended time for voters.

In New York, around 600 people are due to start voting from around 7am local time.

Los Angeles is the last station to close early tomorrow morning South African time.

Around 336 people are registered to vote there.

South Africans living at home will go to the polls on 7 May.

Good turnout in London so far. Now let's get this show on the road! #VoteHomeSA #SAElections2014 pic.twitter.com/F9oR6xNL0R

Now I am ready too!on my way to the Hague #votehomesa pic.twitter.com/ZPfIkC47Oo

I've voted in Jakarta, Indonesia. Other South Africans are voting here, too. #SAelections2014 #votehomesa pic.twitter.com/GRT7EoAteC

Just voted in Hong Kong!!! pic.twitter.com/ZaiQY1sjqB