How to vote in the gen­eral elec­tion

Kapiti Observer - - WHAT’S ON -

The coun­try goes to the polls in just a few weeks. tells you what you need to know about get­ting en­rolled to vote.

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a gen­eral elec­tion com­ing up. Septem­ber 23, to be ex­act.

And while the build-up to this year’s elec­tion has come with its fair share of scan­dal, it shouldn’t be enough to put you off vot­ing. Here’s why.

Vot­ing in a gen­eral elec­tion – any elec­tion, for that mat­ter – is your demo­cratic right as a New Zealan­der to have your say on your fu­ture. By hav­ing your say on what you’d like the next gov­ern­ment to look like, you show that you care about the lives of your fam­ily, your neigh­bours on your street, the peo­ple who live in your city, and the rest of New Zealand.

It pays to be in­formed, though. Sim­ply turn­ing up to a polling booth on elec­tion day and go­ing ‘‘ee­nie mee­nie miney mo’’ isn’t enough to jus­tify the sticker you’ll get when you leave. Here’s what you need to know be­fore Septem­ber 23:

YOU NEED TO BE EN­ROLLED

In or­der to vote, you first need to be en­rolled – and it’s ac­tu­ally il­le­gal if you don’t. In fact, if you’re el­i­gi­ble to vote and don’t en­rol, you could be fined $100, or dou­ble that if you’ve been fined be­fore and still haven’t. To be el­i­gi­ble, you must be at least 18 years old, a New Zealand ci­ti­zen or per­ma­nent res­i­dent who has lived here for at least a year, or a res­i­dent of the Cook Is­lands, Aus­tralia, Niue or Toke­lau who has lived here for at least a year.

If you’re el­i­gi­ble to vote but haven’t en­rolled yet, go to elec­tions.org.nz, visit your near­est PostShop, call 0800 36 76 56, or text your ad­dress to 3676. You can en­rol to vote up un­til Septem­ber 22 – the day be­fore the elec­tion.

YOU CAN VOTE EARLY

Polling booths will be open on Satur­day 23 from 9am un­til 7pm. If you’re wor­ried you can’t jug­gle week­end sport with your demo­cratic duty, pop into se­lected polling booths around the coun­try from Mon­day, Septem­ber 11. Visit elec­tions.org.nz to find out which polling booths will be open early.

DO YOUR RE­SEARCH

There’s still plenty of time to find out which party and poli­cies align most with your way of think­ing. Watch the news, read news­pa­pers, check out Neigh­bourly and do your own in­de­pen­dent re­search. In the weeks lead­ing up to the elec­tion you’ll also re­ceive an info pack in the mail which in­cludes de­tails about the lo­cal MPs you can vote for.

WORK­ING ON ELEC­TION DAY

If you’re unlucky enough to have to work on a Satur­day, your em­ployer legally has to give you enough time off work to get to a polling booth if you can’t do it be­fore­hand. As long as you’re not gone for more than two hours, they also can’t deduct wages from you.

For more in­for­ma­tion about this year’s gen­eral elec­tion, visit elec­tions.org.nz.

123RF

You don’t have to wait un­til Septem­ber 23 - some polling booths will be open early so you can avoid the rush.

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