Where have voters gone?


By Nick Krause

Voters seemed to have turned their backs on this year’s local elections.

Voting returns for Local Elections 2019 in the Howick Ward’s three Subdivisions – Botany, Howick and Pakuranga – are only showing around half of voters having bothered to cast their votes.

With voting for the local elections closing in a little over a week – midday on October 12– the number of document returns as of Monday was dismal.

Auckland Council figures as of yesterday showed just 12.5 per cent of voting documents had been returned in the Botany Subdivision compared to 20.2 per cent as at October 3 at the last local elections in 2016.

In Howick for these elections, 14.3 per cent of returns had been recorded yesterday compared to 22.7 per cent as at October 3, 2016. And in Pakuranga 13.1 per cent of votes had been returned yesterday compared to 21.6 per cent on October 3, 2016.

In 2016, final results showed 36.9 per cent cast votes in the Botany Subdivision, 43.1 per cent in Howick and 40.7 per cent in Pakuranga. The Auckland total was 38.54 per cent.

Voting closes at midday on October 12, but voters now have less than a week to post their ballot papers if they want to make the postal deadline.

People who aren’t enrolled, or haven’t their received their voting papers, can still cast a special vote.

Low voter turnout so far is dogging the local elections (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)

Auckland Council General Manager Democracy Services Marguerite Delbet is urging voters to act now.

“We’re asking all Aucklanders to think about the role local government plays in their lives, have their say and be a voter,” Delbet told the  Times.

“We’re working to provide Aucklanders with more ways to vote, including our One Stop Shop programme, which allows people to enrol and vote at the same time.”

These can be cast at five Auckland libraries, nine council service centres, by calling the Electoral Office on 0800 922 822, or by visiting a One Stop Shop.

Dozens of One Stop Shops will pop up over the election period at places like malls, universities, marae and markets.

People who are already enrolled can also drop their voting papers at a One Stop Shop, rather than putting them in a post box.

A full list of One Stop Shop times, dates and locations is available on the elections website, voteauckland.co.nz.

The Vote Friday initiative will provide at least 35,000 Aucklanders the opportunity to vote at work. “Businesses are encouraged to support local democracy by giving their staff 30 minutes to fill out their voting papers on Friday 4 October,” Delbet said.

Our elections website, voteauckland.co.nz, is an excellent resource for voters. People can type their address into the website to find out more about the candidates in their ward and local board area.


Key election dates

October 8- Last day to post voting papers (ballot boxes will be accepting votes until midday on October 12)

October 12-Voting closes at midday

October 17 to October 23-Official results announced