Another low voter turnout at the local body elections has renewed calls for online voting and a dedicated voting day.

Latest figures show just 19.88 per cent of votes have been returned in Auckland, with some areas as low as 16.3 per cent.

On these figures, Auckland is tracking for a 40 per cent turnout, better than the 35.5 per cent figure in 2013 but down on 51 per cent in 2010.

With just four days until voting closes at midday on Saturday, people are being urged to vote. Voting papers need to be in the mail by Wednesday to meet Saturday's deadline.


Auckland Electoral Officer Dale Ofsoske says the solution to increasing turnout, particularly among young people, is online voting in conjunction with postal voting.

"We are trying to re-engage with young people and that is what they use. Everything is electronic," he said.

City Vision, a ticket of left-leaning candidates, wants a total review of voting, including another look at electronic voting and a focused election day.

Eight councils put up their hand to trial online voting at the 2016 elections, but the initiative was canned by the Government in April because of security issues.

At the time, Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston said: "Given real concerns about security and vote integrity, it is too early for a trial."

Last night, Upston said the local government sector was looking at options for online voting in future and she would consider their response.

Upston is not opposed to online voting in principle but did not agree with the view it would improve participation levels, even among young people.

Turnout was affected by factors such as the complexity of different voting systems and high-profile mayoral campaigns, she said.


"The online voting trial was never about increasing participation," Upston said.

Mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick said postal ballots are "truly a ludicrous system" that lock out non-homeowners and transient populations, who are typically younger and poorer.

Swarbrick would like to see online voting and, at the very least, a dedicated voting day.
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City Vision councillor Cathy Casey was concerned at the number of voters who claimed they had not received their voting papers and now have to cast "special votes" in person at a limited number of locations.

Victoria Gaskell, who flats with four other people in Grey Lynn, said only one of her flatmates received voting papers and that was through his parents.

The 27-year-old high school teacher has faced an arduous process. She was late changing addresses and was told her voting papers would have gone to her last listed address in New Plymouth.

"I feel like the system is antiquated and needs changing so the voice of my generation can be heard. Lots of us move around for university and jobs so there needs to be a way that won't limit our voting power," Gaskell said.


Ofsoske said there had been a lot of cases of people not receiving voting papers, often because they were not on the electoral roll or had moved and not formally changed their address.