A Hastings mayoral candidate says Flaxmere's lack of post boxes could "compromise" this year's local body elections.
Councillor and mayor candidate Damon Harvey said there was a lower post box to resident ratio in Flaxmere than other areas of Hastings.
"We're basically shutting an entire community out of our democratic process by not giving them fair access to vote, when compared to others living in our district.
"This could be termed voter suppression and it could compromise the entire election."
Harvey, who was raised in Flaxmere, is the husband of former Tukituki Labour candidate Anna Lorck who also has claimed Flaxmere residents didn't get an equal amount of voting time at the 2017 general election, said his campaign had looked into how many post boxes were available in each area of Hastings.
According to the NZ Post and DLX locator websites Flaxmere has just one post box to every 3673 residents.
In Hastings the ratio is one to 1125 and Havelock North is one to every 832.
Small communities in the district, such as Clive, Whakatu and Haumoana, all have a post box.
"Flaxmere has become a victim of modern times, where demand for New Zealand postal services have dramatically declined so post boxes have disappeared, but this doesn't mean we can allow for discrimination in the voting process.
"It's totally unacceptable that we could have entire communities basically being shut out from the voting process because of where they live."
He said he had raised the issue with electoral officers at Hastings District and Hawke's Bay Regional Councils as well as the District Health Board.
"I believe it will require more ballot boxes in Flaxmere in secure and accessible public locations, along with having special voting at the Flaxmere Community Centre."
A spokesperson for Local Government New Zealand said it was concerned about the decline in postal services.
Fewer post boxes and slower delivery times were likely to affect this year's election, the spokesperson said.
"While central Government have been at pains to innovate in national elections, with a recent bill to allow voting at supermarkets and other high traffic areas, there has been much less support for local government elections.
"An online voting trial for this year was recently abandoned due to the high cost on the small group of councils involved.
"We believe a strong democracy is a national good, and worthy of national support."
The spokesperson said people should send in their votes at least a week before voting closes, to ensure votes were at council premises before voting closed.
"Alternatively, we encourage people to bring their votes into council, or facilities such as libraries, but the reality is, we need central Government to come to the party and co-develop a modern voting system with us."
Hastings District Council electoral officer Jackie Evans said Harvey had raised the issue with them.
"Any changes to different methods of voting, such as online, would have to be considered by this council in conjunction with the local-government sector as a whole."
Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) chairman Kevin Atkinson said he backed Harvey's call for action, and said it could put the voting process at risk.
"It is a sign of the times that posting mail is outdated, but the process we are working to is by postal ballot and the election is just months away.
"Given the timing, we must do as much as possible to ensure a fair process, like more places to vote and fair access to special voting."
Flaxmere voters, as do all Hawke's Bay voters, get to choose seven candidates to represent them on the district health board, which covers the region from Central Hawke's Bay to Wairoa.
"I have asked the HBDHB company secretary to get a list of all post boxes across the region so we can get the full picture and make can make sure there are no other areas like Flaxmere being disadvantaged."
The Department of Internal Affairs, who has oversight over local government elections, has been approached for comment.