Registrars out to battle voter apathy
A date for this year’s general election hasn’t been set, but that hasn’t stopped the start of a campaign encouraging Aucklanders to get enrolled to vote.
Four of Auckland’s electoral registrars stepped up Auckland’s Sky Tower in signature orange outfits last week to launch the campaign and encourage locals to get enrolled.
“The Auckland central electorate is the least enrolled in the country,” says electoral registrar and outreach coordinator Sharon Reece.
“And only 77 percent of Auckland’s population is enrolled to vote, compared with the New Zealand average of 92 percent,” she says.
Central Auckland residents aged between 18 and 24 are particularly poorly represented with only 37 percent enrolled compared with the national average of 70 percent for the same age group.
Research by the Electoral Enrolment Centre also shows that only half of Auckland’s Maori, Pacific Island and Asian communities are even aware that a general election is taking place this year.
“For young people it’s apathy,” says Ms Reece.
“For Maori and Pacific Island communities with low incomes, there’s a lack of involvement and understanding.
“There’s no connection with government as it’s not on a personal level and they don’t realise how important their opinion is.”
The push to get people ready to vote begins with posties delivering 287,645 enrolment update packs this week.
The pack will tell residents which electorates in Auckland they are enrolled in.
“People who don’t receive a pack are not correctly enrolled to vote,” says Ms Reece.
“It doesn’t happen automatically when you move or turn 18 or become eligible.”
If you are eligible to vote and a pack does not arrive by the end of this week you will need to enrol.
To enrol, visit a PostShop and fill out a form, free-text your name and address to 3637 or freecall 0800 ENROLNOW (0800-367-656).
– Carly Tawhiao is an AUT journalism student
Enrol now: Registrars of Electors step up for a sky-walk, from left: Sharon Reece (Tamaki Makaurau), Anne Slarke (Waitakere), Nerony Manoa Tamatoa (Tamaki) and Marama Wilson (Mt Roskill).