Don’t Forget To Vote

With voting in the Otago Regional Council by-election closing on June 20, voting paper returns as of June 12 were only 23 percent, highlighting the importance of getting your vote in on time.

In the last two election cycles (2011 and 2014) there has been a general decline in voter turnout. In the 2011 General Election, there were more non-voters aged 18–24 years than in the older age groups (41.8 percent) compared with only 5.2 percent of people aged 65 years or over.

Twenty one percent said the main reason people gave for not voting in the 2011 General Election was they “didn't get around to it, forgot, or were not interested”. Another 12.3 percent of non-voters said they did not register for the 2011 election, while 10.0 percent were “overseas or away on election day”.

A further 7.1 percent of the non-voters said they did not think their vote would make a difference – a big increase from 3.9 percent in the 2008 election.

For local elections the statistics are much worse. In 2016 the voter turnout across New Zealand was only 42 percent. The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) voter turnout last year increased to 56 percent in 2016 up from 46 percent in 2013. Voter turnout for the Otago Regional Council (ORC) election in 2016 was only 49 percent.

The big issues of 2016 that were likely to have caused an increase in voter turnout were water quality and transport, which are still major issues that need focus. People need to understand the issues and vote if they want action. The voter turnout for the ORC was only 49% in 2016.

ORC advise people to post their voting papers no later than Thursday June 15 to make sure they arrive in time.

If you miss this cut-off voting papers can be dropped off at the offices of the QLDC, ORC or CODC.

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