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