Southern leaders push for booths and online voting

By Mathew Dearnaley

NZ Post spokesman John Tulloch acknowledged its network had shrunk in response to lower mail volumes. Photo / Richard Robinson
NZ Post spokesman John Tulloch acknowledged its network had shrunk in response to lower mail volumes. Photo / Richard Robinson

South Auckland community leaders want polling booths to supplement postal balloting, for foot-loose electors needing to cast special votes.

Some are also concerned about the shrinking numbers of post boxes.

Manurewa JP Bill Marshall says his phones are running hot with calls from people complaining they cannot find their names on the electoral roll, or have not received voting packs in the mail after moving address.

Although they could visit council service centres to make declarations to obtain special voting papers, that was a time-consuming process needing improvement, such as being reinforced by polling booths in public libraries or other community centres.

Mangere MP Su'a William Sio said he went online in July to register a change of address by his family after moving houses in the same street, but had yet to receive a voting pack. Packs had been sent to the rest of the family, but not to him, even though he had been on the electoral roll since turning 18.

He believed that as well as supplementary polling booths being provided for special votes, online balloting should also be introduced to make it easier for young people to have their say.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain has asked his department to organise a working party of government and local authority officials, and information technology experts, to consider options for online voting in future local elections.

Manurewa Local Board member Colleen Brown said polling booths were badly needed in her community, where a scarcity of post boxes also made it hard for people to mail back voting papers.

NZ Post spokesman John Tulloch acknowledged its network had shrunk in response to lower mail volumes, but could not comment on the implications for postal voting.

Auckland Council had added some libraries to the list of service centres where people could make declarations to receive special voting papers, but those were not polling booths.

Voters have until midnight tomorrow to post back their voting papers, or noon on Saturday to hand them in at council service centres or designated libraries.

Trickling in

995,206 registered Auckland electors
17.6% of votes received by yesterday (175,124 votes)
26.9% proportion at same stage of 2010 election

- NZ Herald

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