Deadlines loom so remember to vote

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Post your vote by Wednesday, or hand deliver it to a Northland council office.
Post your vote by Wednesday, or hand deliver it to a Northland council office.

Local government election votes need to be posted by Wednesday at the latest - otherwise they can be hand delivered until midday Saturday.

Hand deliveries could go to any of the council offices listed at localelections.co.nz/vote.

Anyone who had not received voting papers in the mail also needed to visit an office to cast a special vote.

Voter turnout had been steadily falling since the 1980s. Northland and Auckland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said online voting would be a good solution to increase the voter turnout, particularly among young people.

As of today (Monday), 24.54 per cent of eligible voters in Whangarei had returned their votes, compared to 24 per cent at the same point in the 2013 election.

In the Far North, 25.7 per cent had voted so far, compared to 29 per cent in 2013. In Kaipara, the figures were 26.96 per cent compared to 20 per cent in 2013, though last election Kaipara residents were not electing district councillors, only voting for NRC and DHB members.

Mr Ofsoske said there was a push this year to re-engage with young people, whose lives revolved around technology. He favoured using a combination of online and postal voting.

Eight councils put up their hand for an online voting trial this election, but the initiative was canned by the Government in April because of security issues.

At the time, Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston said: "Given real concerns about security and vote integrity, it is too early for a trial."

Voting in the election which would see Northlanders choose their district health board members, and regional and district councillors closes midday on Saturday. Progress results which generally reflect about 95 per cent of the votes cast were expected mid-afternoon on Saturday. Preliminary results would follow later that night.

The official result would be declared on Thursday, October 13.

Anyone who had not received voting papers in the mail needs to:

1. Update their details on the electoral roll: Visit a post shop, phone 0800 36 76 56, visit elections.org.nz or free text your name and address to 3676.

AND

2. Cast a special vote: Call 0800 922 822 (before October 5) or visit your nearest council office. Locations at localelections.co.nz/vote.

- Northern Advocate

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