Error sees electors left out
Election campaigning is over for Ella Lawton and Gary Kelliher, but the voting process has come under fire after a glitch missed some people on the electoral roll.
Wanaka resident Philip Thoreau alerted the Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council electoral officer Pam Jordan of the error on Thursday after not receiving voting papers.
Thoreau, who also owns a house in Auckland, said he phoned the council and was told voting papers had not been sent to others as well. He received a ‘‘half bait’’ letter and voting paper on Friday and was told to get his vote in before the Tuesday noon deadline.
‘‘I rang and you have only allowed one and a half working days to get votes in. What irritated me was the laid back attitude towards it...I felt so angry I got hold of the candidates and they had not been told about it. These people are good enough to put themselves up to serve the community, at least the people organising the election can ensure they do their best to get voting papers out.’’
Candidate Gary Kelliher said he was disappointed to learn of the oversight through the media and Thoreau.
‘‘It is a concern. You have faith in the system that the system doesn’t get it wrong. If the issue wasn’t raised by a concerned voter what would they have done? I suspect probably nothing. Ella and I have invested a lot of time, effort and money on this and you would like to see they would show a level of concern that matches the effort Ella and I put into the whole campaign.’’
Lawton was upset to learn of the error and it highlighted failures in the entire system.
‘‘I have given it everything. I am totally concerned. I got really upset because some people are so passionate about voting and it is New Zealanders’ right to have the opportunity to vote. It is just not acceptable...I was an advocate for online voting.’’
Electoral officer Pam Jordan said a total of 42 ratepayer voters on the Queenstown Lakes District Council roll had been incorrectly omitted.
‘‘They were sent voting papers and FastPost return envelopes as soon as the omission was discovered.’’
Electionz.com was putting in place measures to ensure the error did not happen again, she said.
Melva Crowley, of Cromwell, got her Otago Regional Council by-election voting paper in the post in good time to meet Tuesday’s noon deadline.