Simon Collins

Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

26% of young voters yet to sign up as roll hits 3m for first time

The Electoral Enrolment Centre is using social media to encourage young people to have their say. Photo / APN
The Electoral Enrolment Centre is using social media to encourage young people to have their say. Photo / APN

More than a quarter of young potential voters have not enrolled, and the printed rolls for next month's election close tomorrow.

The Electoral Enrolment Centre says only 73.4 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 and eligible to vote were enrolled by October 14, down from 76 per cent at the same stage before the last election in 2008.

Enrolment is still possible right up to the day before election day, which is November 26. But voters who do not enrol by tomorrow will not have their names on the printed rolls, will not get EasyVote cards and information packs in the mail before the election, and will have to cast votes by special declaration.

"That means filling in another form, which can take up to five times longer," said enrolment manager Murray Wicks.

"So get enrolled by Wednesday and make it easy for yourself."

Overall, 91.5 per cent of the eligible population aged 18 and over were enrolled by October 14, down from 92.9 per cent at the same time in 2008.

That number has now risen marginally to 91.7 per cent, or 3,002,515 people, topping the three million mark at an election for the first time.

Mr Wicks said the election had struggled for attention, especially among young people, because of the Rugby World Cup and other events this year such as the Christchurch earthquakes.

Fewer than half of all eligible young people have enrolled in Auckland Central (44.7 per cent) and Dunedin North (49.9 per cent), and youth enrolments only just top 50 per cent in other university centres such as Wellington Central, Christchurch Central and Wigram.

Mr Wicks said his team was trying new ways to reach young people, including placing enrolment forms on a Facebook page.

"We are also working closely with youth media such as Mai FM ... We are running an outreach programme where staff and field workers are at shopping malls, events and schools."

Who's enrolled

Enrolled people aged 18-24 as percentage of 18-24 population:

Top five electorates:

* Wairarapa 93.7
* New Plymouth 92.9
* Hunua 92.1
* Rangitata 91.3
* Invercargill 91.2
* NZ average 73.4

Bottom five electorates:

* Wigram 58.1
* Christchurch Central 53.8
* Wellington Central 53.5
* Dunedin North 49.9
* Auckland Central 44.7

- NZ Herald

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