Electoral Commission urging people to 'vote early and vote local'

Source: 1News

With advanced voting opening tomorrow , October 3, the Electoral Commission is urging people to “vote early and vote local” this year to help with social distancing amid the pandemic. 

Chief electoral officer Alicia Wright told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning voting early in the General Election is “the right thing to do”. 

“That keeps queues down, gets people in and out of the voting place quickly, and that’s good for physical distancing,” she said.

New Zealand's General Election will be held on Saturday, October 17. As well as early voting discussed in this story voters can also vote at a polling booth on election day.

The Electoral Commission is preparing to treat the election as if the whole country was under Covid-19 Alert Level 2, with physical distancing and contact tracing in place. From tomorrow, nearly 450 advance voting places will open their doors around the country. 

Advanced voting is growing in popularity, making up 47 per cent of the total vote in 2017, Wright said.

Wright said she expected this number to increase this year, and political parties were adjusting the timings of their announcements as a result. 

“They’ve been adjusting their approach. We had a lot of advanced voting in 2017.”

Wright said it was also encouraging to see that about 90 per cent of eligible voters have enrolled. The numbers of young people enrolling to vote was also on the rise - it’s currently at 73 per cent, compared to 70 per cent in 2017.

“We expect a big jump up for people enrolling and voting at the same time,” Wright said. 

How to enrol to vote

Wright said people could enrol at any voting place. 

“Walk in, we’ll get you enrolled, and you can do your vote.”

People can also visit the Electoral Commission’s website here

How to vote in advance

The Electoral Commission has released a list of places people can vote on their website

People don’t need to bring an ID to vote, but are encouraged to bring their own pens. 

Elections staff will then search for voters’ names on the electoral roll and issue voting papers. 

How people can make voting more convenient

The Electoral Commission said having an EasyVote card would allow staff to find voters’ names on the electoral roll faster. This means people could get their voting papers faster, too.

People who enrol to vote after September 13, including on election day, won’t receive an EasyVote card.

But, Wright said people “can still walk in and vote without it”. 

For people who have enrolled to vote before September 13, they would have received an EasyVote pack which explains how people can cast their votes, who they can vote for and when they can vote.