Vot­ers get in early to have a say

Waikato Times - - NEWS - TOM HUNT

No sin­gle po­lit­i­cal party floats Saskia Owens’ boat.

Nev­er­the­less, it is a boat she has cast out early as one of a grow­ing num­ber of New Zealan­ders vot­ing early.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion had reg­is­tered 89,421 ad­vance votes cast by 2pm on Tues­day.

That was more than the 44,080 by the com­pa­ra­ble day in 2014 and 17,738 by the com­pa­ra­ble day in 2011 – the first year ad­vanced vot­ing was avail­able to all.

At Welling­ton’s Vic­to­ria Univer­sity, queues formed at a makeshift polling booth as large­lyy­oung vot­ers went to the bal­lot box early, many of them for the first time.

Ash­ley Short, 20, cast her vote on Wed­nes­day, 10 days out from the elec­tion ‘‘to get it out of the way and so I don’t for­get’’.

‘‘I feel like I did my part for New Zealand – I have done what I can.’’

Owens turned 18 just a week out from the last elec­tion, mak­ing 2017 her sec­ond gen­eral elec­tion. She had no fears she would change her po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions be­tween Wed­nes­day and Septem­ber 23.

‘‘None of the par­ties com­pletely res­onated with me so I had to go with the one that res­onated the most,’’ she said.

‘‘I voted be­cause I had to, but I wouldn’t be com­pletely con­tent with any of them.’’

Chelsea Quinn, 19, had to change her de­tails be­fore vot­ing as she had moved from Welling­ton to Auck­land.

‘‘It was re­ally quick. I had a 20-minute break be­tween classes and got to class on time.’’

All ad­vance votes will be stored in sealed boxes and will not be counted till elec­tion day. Ad­vance vot­ers can also en­rol, check or up­date de­tails at the same time.

On elec­tion day, Septem­ber 23, vot­ing will be open from 9am to 7pm. You must be en­rolled by Septem­ber 22. You can­not en­rol on elec­tion day it­self.

How to vote

If you have an EasyVote card, take it with you when you go to vote and give it to the per­son is­su­ing your vot­ing pa­per. It will help them find you on the elec­toral roll. They will ask you to con­firm your name and give you your vot­ing pa­per.

If you don’t have an EasyVote card, you will need to tell the per­son is­su­ing your bal­lot your full name and ad­dress. There will be some­one at the vot­ing place to show you what to do and where to go.

You do not need to take any ID with you when you go to vote.

If you vote out­side your elec­torate you may need to fill in an ex­tra form.

The vot­ing pa­per

Take your vot­ing pa­per to the pri­vate vot­ing screen. Each voter has a party vote and an elec­torate vote.

On your vot­ing pa­per, place a tick by the name of the po­lit­i­cal party of your choice and a tick by the name of the can­di­date you would most like to rep­re­sent your lo­cal area.

The party vote largely de­cides the to­tal num­ber of seats each po­lit­i­cal party gets in Par­lia­ment, and par­ties with a big­ger share of the party vote will get more seats in Par­lia­ment.

Re­sults and exit polls

The votes will be counted on elec­tion night, Septem­ber 23, when the pre­lim­i­nary elec­tion re­sults are re­leased. Votes are counted again over a two-week pe­riod be­fore the of­fi­cial re­sults are de­clared.

Exit polling is not al­lowed in New Zealand.

PHOTO: KEVIN STENT/ STUFF

Chelsea Quinn voted early at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity, Welling­ton.

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