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Local Elections 2019 – Voting period opens today

The official voting period for the Local elections 2019 begins today, and Timaru District Council is working to make voting even easier than ever.

Voting papers for the triennial postal ballot, which will help choose a new mayor, councillors, community board and licencing trust members and those to sit on the District Health Board, are now in the mail and should arrive at everyone on the electoral roll by the end ofWednesday 25 September. Papers are sent to people on the electoral roll as it closed on 16 August.

Special voting is also open from today, this enables anyone who is on the unpublished electoral roll, is not enrolled or incorrectly enrolled, or has just turned 18 to vote. You can also cast a special vote if you lose your voting paper. You can do this at the Timaru District Council building or the Geraldine or Temuka Service Centres.

Timaru District Electoral Officer Mark Low said that they are working to make voting as easy as possible this year to try and arrest a long term decline in voting rates.

“On top of being able to vote in the post, you can also post your ballot in person in the clearly marked box outside the council building as well as in boxes at Geraldine and Temuka Library.

“Voting in local elections is incredibly important, in many cases decisions made at a local level shape your community and influence the local services you use every day to an even greater extent than national elections.

“We’re keen for as many people to cast their votes as possible, particularly getting those who’ve never taken part in local elections before to have their say.

“It’s an easy thing to do, but enables you to have your say on a huge number of issues from roading, infrastructure and the environment to healthcare and community wellbeing.”

Voting is easy:

- For the mayoral, local council, community board and licensing trust election it’s a first past the post system. You can tick the number of candidates as there are seats. For example:

o You can choose one candidate for mayor, so tick the candidate you want.

o For Council, in Timaru ward you can tick up to six boxes, Pleasant Point Temuka two boxes and Geraldine one.

o For Community Boards, for Geraldine you can tick up to six boxes, and up to five for Pleasant Point or Temuka

- The district health board uses Single Transferable vote, this is different but still straightforward.

o You just rank you candidates in order of preference with numbers, so 1 for your favourite, 2 for your second favourite and so on.

You can rank as many candidates as you want to vote for, but must number consecutively starting from number 1.

“Election day is 12 October, but it’s best to not delay and get your votes in early. In many cases people put their voting papers to one side and might never get round to it, so we’re encouraging people to take the opportunity to vote as soon as they can, said Mark.

Full candidate information is included in the voting packs, but for this and more electoral information people can visit www.timaru.govt.nz/elections

© Scoop Media

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