Voters get in early to have a say
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.
Chelsea Quinn voted early at Victoria University, Wellington.