Advance voting opens in earnest
Away from campaigning for their own cause and that of their parties, Hutt South candidates Labour’s Ginny Andersen and National’s Chris Bishop are encouraging people in their electorate to register and vote.
Advance voting for the 2017 general election opened on September 11 and both candidates said voting was an important part of a strong democracy.
‘‘We want everyone in Hutt South to get out and vote. A good democracy is when everyone is engaged,’’ Andersen said.
It was important that everyone voted and was represented so a good contrast of ideas could be debated and better ideas could be turned into policy.
Bishop said voting was an integral part of New Zealand’s democracy and it was a right which people had fought and died for.
‘‘It’s a precious right and something that not many people have [in other countries]. It’s important for people to come out and express their democratic will.’’
The proportion of Kiwis turning out to vote has been trending downwards over the last few decades. Only 77.9 per cent of eligible voters turned out in 2014, as opposed to a turnout of 84.4 per cent of the electorate in 1999 and 93.7 per cent in 1984.
One month out from this year’s election 51,805 people, or 92.7 per cent of Hutt South voters, had registered. In 2011, 93.7 per cent had enrolled by the same time.
Both candidates wanted to remind people it was not too late to register, and they could register and vote at the same time until September 22.
Allowing people to cast their ballots ahead of September 23 took the pressure off having to run around on election day.
Eligible voters have until September 22 to enrol - registrations will not be accepted on election day. Advance voting began on September 11 and people will be able cast their ballots through to election day on September 23.
Hutt South voters can cast an advance vote at one of 15 locations across Lower Hutt and Wellington.
For more information about advance voting and locations of voting places, go to www.elections.org.nz
Left, National’s Hutt South candidate, Chris Bishop, outside the War Memorial Library, one of 15 locations around Lower Hutt and Wellington where an advance vote can be cast. Above, Labour’s candidate Ginny Andersen casts her ballot on the opening day of advance voting.