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‘Gone, no address’ – Capital voters are worst at re-enrolling

Jul 5th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout

WELLINGTON is the political capital of NZ and has the highest voter turnout – but when it comes to enrolling to vote, we suck.

More Wellington Central voters have so far failed to re-enrol for this year’s general election than any other electorate in the country. 

Some 1687 of those living in the city have been removed from the electoral roll this year because they haven’t updated their details, says Electoral Enrolment Centre national manager Murray Wicks (right).

 “Wellington is a very transient city,” he says.

“There are a lot of apartment dwellers, students, and people who have moved, who haven’t updated their details.”

Those eligible to vote need to get their details updated as soon as possible to receive “easy vote packs” in the mail.

“We would like everybody eligible to be enrolled by the twenty sixth of October,” he says. “Enrol now and then you can forget about it.”

Enrolment update packs were sent out to everyone on the electoral roll during May.

So far, 49,966 of those eligible to vote have been taken off the roll because the packs were returned as “gone, no address”.

The largest number of those removed from the roll were in Wellington Central, with the Taranaki electorate having the least.

Mr Wicks says the number is so far on a par with other elections. Voters have right up until midnight on November 25 to enrol.

Everybody can vote, he says but those casting a special declaration vote who are not enrolled will have their vote rejected.

Those enrolled before October 26 will be mailed the “easy vote pack”, which contains information on candidates, party lists, a reminder on how to vote, where to vote, and a personalised easy vote card to make voting easier and faster, says Mr Wicks. 

“You have until midnight on the twenty fifth of November to enrol, but if you leave it until then you won’t receive an easy vote card and the voting process can take up to five times longer.”

Cantabrians have so far been exempt from being removed from the roll, as the enrolment centre is still trying to locate those who have moved after the earthquakes.

“The earthquakes have caused a change in so many people’s circumstances and we are very sensitive to this.

“We will not be removing Cantabrians from the roll until all avenues to contact them have been exhausted.”

During the last general election in 2008,  95% of those eligible to vote were enrolled, but only 78.4% of those enrolled voted.

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