Ad­vance vot­ing opens in earnest

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

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

PHO­TOS: MATTHEW TSO/STUFF

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.

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