Short no­tice makes by­elec­tion a chal­lenge

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Or­gan­is­ing a by­elec­tion isn’t an easy task.

Just ask Mt Al­bert re­turn­ing of­fi­cer Alofa Glas.

Mrs Glas is charged with find­ing enough polling sta­tions and staff for the Mt Al­bert by­elec­tion on June 13.

She says the short turn­around be­tween the an­nounce­ment of the by­elec­tion and vot­ing day has meant find­ing venues is more chal­leng­ing than usual.

“The schools around aren’t so bad, but the churches and pub­lic halls are nor­mally booked up in ad­vance.”

To make sure they have 28 polling places avail­able, other schools and churches are be­ing ap­proached to com­pen­sate.

But she says re­cruit­ing the 200 staff needed to run polling places on the day shouldn’t be a prob­lem.

“The elec­tion was only last year, so all those peo­ple are will­ing to come back.”

While Mrs Glas is un­sure whether the turnout will top the 79 per­cent of en­rolled vot­ers who had their say in the elec­torate in 2008, she says ini­tial in­ter­est has been high.

“When He­len Clark an­nounced her res­ig­na­tion, the phone calls started hap­pen­ing soon af­ter that.”

Mt Al­bert reg­is­trar of elec­tors Gay­lene Ross-Cartwright, who is in charge of en­rolling as many vot­ers as pos­si­ble, says the num­ber of flats in the elec­torate makes stu­dents the most dif­fi­cult group to pin down.

“The stu­dents are very tran­sient. They’re in their apart­ment one week and out the next.

“It’s very hard to keep their de­tails up to date.”

How­ever she says they’ve had to keep on top of en­rol­ments in Mt Al­bert be­cause they were aware a by­elec­tion was on the cards af­ter Na­tional won the elec­tion.

Ad­vance vot­ing, which caters for peo­ple who can’t be in the Mt Al­bert elec­torate on elec­tion day, starts to­day at the elec­toral of­fice by­elec­tion head­quar­ters, Unit 1, 49 Sains­bury Rd, Morn­ing­side.

Peo­ple who want more in­for­ma­tion on the by­elec­tion and en­rolling can phone 0800-367656 or visit www.elec­tions.org. nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Get­ting ready: Mt Al­bert re­turn­ing of­fi­cer Alofa Glas pre­pares for the by­elec­tion on June 13.

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