Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

It's your community, your choice. Vote TODAY

Candidates across the political spectrum are doing their best to get the "vote now" message out to Aucklanders. Photo / Dean Purcell
Candidates across the political spectrum are doing their best to get the "vote now" message out to Aucklanders. Photo / Dean Purcell

Please vote TODAY.

Today is the last day to post voting papers to be sure they meet the Saturday deadline for the local body elections.

Councils and politicians are urging people to post their voting papers today and improve on the nationwide 41.4 per cent voter turnout in 2013.

In Auckland, the turnout in 2013 was 35.5 per cent and it appears the voter turnout this year will fall short of 40 per cent. Latest figures showing 24.4 per cent of votes have been returned show Auckland is tracking for a 38.7 per cent turnout.

More worryingly, the turnout has been tracking down in the past few days.

Across the political spectrum, candidates are doing their best to get the message across.


Please do Auckland a favour, Orakei candidate Desley Simpson said on her Facebook page.

"Ask everyone you speak to today if they have voted?" Said mayoral candidate Phil Goff: "Fill it. Seal it. Post it TODAY."

Auckland Council elections planning manager Glyn Walters said voter turnout was still ahead of 2013 and hoped for a last-minute rush to get the vote into the high 30s "at least".

He said the council's Show Your Love campaign sought to get 90 per cent of Aucklanders aware of the election. At the end of August it stood at 83 per cent.

Some councillors had an aspirational goal of a 50 per cent voter turnout, also shared by Local Government New Zealand, he said.

"But we never set a specific target on voter turnout, except to be as high as possible," Walters said.

A select committee inquiry into the 2013 local body elections said research shows that as the size of an electorate increases, turnout decreases.

Walters said the 2013 turnout of 35.5 per cent was disappointing after a 51 per cent turnout at the first Super City elections in 2010.

He put the higher turnout down to the inaugural elections and a strong mayoral contest between John Banks and Len Brown.

Walters said Auckland Council would be pushing for shortening the postal voting period from three to two weeks, moving the voting period outside school holidays and trialling online voting when a parliamentary select committee holds an inquiry into the 2016 elections.

How can I vote in the last days?

Voting closes at midday on Saturday. Votes received after this date will not be counted. Voting papers need to be in the mail today to meet the Saturday deadline.

Can I drop my papers off if I miss the Wednesday deadline?

If you do not post your voting papers today you can drop them off at a local library or a number of council services centres.

What if I'm not enrolled or haven't received my papers?

If you are not on the Final Electoral Roll or have not received a voting paper, you can still vote if you enrol by 4pm on Friday and register for a special vote. Visit elections.org.nz to enrol, update or check your details. Enrolled voters who have not received their voting papers can call 0800 922 822 to arrange a special vote.

- NZ Herald

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