Far North residents have until March 17 to have their say on whether the council should bring in dedicated Maori wards.
Voting forms in the postal ballot have been sent to all registered Far North electors and arrived in most letterboxes this week.
Last year the council decided to hold a binding poll about setting up dedicated Maori seats around the council table for the 2016 and 2019 local elections.
If a majority of votes are in favour of Maori wards, the council will determine the number of general and Maori wards - as well as the number of councillors for each - when it conducts a representation review later this year.
Mayor John Carter said the council was committed to working more closely with Maori but it didn't have a view on dedicated Maori wards.
"This is a decision to be made by the community, not the council, so it's important that people take part in this poll."
The council had already started looking at ways for Maori to contribute to decision-making processes.
Mr Carter said the option of dedicated seats had to be canvassed first, but if that was rejected by voters the council would seek feedback from Maori about other options. They included setting up appointed advisory boards or representation on council standing committees.
Iwi leaders were unimpressed by the poll when it was announced last year, Ngai Takoto's Rangitane Marsden going as far as describing the poll as "insulting".
If the council wanted Maori at the decision-making table, it should not have to ask the rest of the public first, he said.
In 2001 Bay of Plenty Regional Council was the first territorial authority to introduce dedicated Maori seats. Three of its 14 seats are set aside for Maori.
? Voting documents have been sent to all electors on the general and Maori parliamentary electoral rolls. Anyone who believes they are eligible to vote but hasn't received a voting document should call the Electoral Office on 0800 922 822 to cast a special vote. Completed voting forms can be returned by post or hand-delivered to council offices in Kaikohe, Kaitaia or Kerikeri until March 17.