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A Smoother Election For 2002

New legislation aimed at streamlining the 2002 general election process was passed last week.

“The Electoral Amendment Bill (No.2) is an important step in achieving the Government’s objective of a smoother election in 2002,” the Associate Minister of Justice, Margaret Wilson said today. “The legislation simplifies enrolment and electoral administration which will help rectify the difficulties experienced in 1999.

“Electors will no longer need to re-enrol before every general election. The new continuous enrolment system introduced by the legislation means that electors only need to respond if their details need updating. This will save time for the majority of electors whose details don’t change between elections.”

Margaret Wilson said the legislation also makes a number of machinery changes that, when taken together, should make a real difference to the way the next election is administered.

“In particular”, she said, “the legislation -

- Authorises the count of advance and hospital votes under strict security in Returning Officers’ headquarters between 3pm and 7pm on election day;

- Allows the party vote of people who vote in the wrong electorate to be counted;

- Reinforces the need for a collective approach to election administration across the whole of Government;

- Helps the Chief Electoral Officer to introduce a modern management structure;

- Provides for a polling place count, rather than a booth by booth count;

- Makes it clear that any referenda are to be counted after the count of Parliamentary votes;

- Simplifies the administration of the writs and the declaration of results; and

- Facilitates the provision of ordinary Ma¡Âori voting facilities in every polling place. This will mean that Tangata Whenua votes are no longer required.”


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