Northlanders can start voting from tomorrow, when advance voting starts ahead of the October 17 general election.
Hundreds of voting stations have been set up across New Zealand, including in Northland, as electors go to the polls for the first time in the Covid-19 pandemic world.
Voters will head to the polls on Saturday when nearly 450 advance voting places open their doors for this year's election and referendums.
Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright said the popularity of advance voting has been rising steadily – accounting for 47 per cent of all votes in 2017 – and could reach as much as 60 per cent this time round.
"We've responded by opening more advance voting places in the fortnight leading up to election day. On Saturday, October 10, for example, we'll have about 1350 voting places open. On election day itself, the number reaches about 2600.
"We have voting places in an enormous range of locations, from schools and church halls to mosques, marae, universities, clubrooms and libraries. There's even a camping ground and adventure bike park. And in remote parts of electorates such as East Coast, Northland and West Coast-Tasman, we'll have pop-ups in retail spaces.
"Voting places can be found as far north as Te Hapua School near Cape Reinga to the Stewart Island Community Centre in the far south.''
Wright's message to electors was to vote early and vote local because it's more convenient and minimises election day queues, which lessens the risk of Covid-19.
"We'll still be running the election as though the country were at alert level 2, so there will be physical distancing, use of hand sanitiser, voluntary contact tracing, single-use pens to mark voting papers, and PPE on hand for staff in case it's needed."
Arrangements are in place for people in hospitals, rest homes, remand centres, prisons, managed isolation or quarantine facilities and overseas to cast their vote. Postal voting and takeaway voting are available to those unable to get to a voting place.
Voting closes at 7pm on election day, Saturday, October 17.
A list of all voting places can be found on pages 15-18 of today's Northern Advocate or at https://vote.nz/voting/ways-you-can-vote/find-a-voting-place-from-a-list/.