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Voters urged to read their voting papers carefully

28 Sep 2004

Voters urged to read their voting papers carefully

Voters in local elections are being reminded to carefully read the instructions on their voting papers before exercising their democratic right.

Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson Julia Napier says with the majority of people using both Single Transferable Vote and First Past the Post, it is important they look carefully to see which voting system they should use for each voting paper.

“We’re confident that voters who read their ballot paper carefully will make their vote count. With STV, people rank their preferences using numbers and with FPP, they use ticks to indicate their support.”

It is important people take the time to read their voting papers carefully because voting is at the heart of our democratic system, she says.

“It is early days in the three-week voting window and with many people still to cast their vote, it is important they take the time to ensure they are using the right voting system.”

Julia Napier says some feedback from electoral officers shows that people are requesting new voting papers because they have realised themselves they have not used the right voting system.

“It is new for voters to have two voting systems, so people need to read their voting papers carefully and remember that no matter where they live they will be using STV for their District Health Board elections. There are also 10 local councils using STV to elect their representatives.”

Every election shows that there are unfortunately invalid votes cast for a variety of reasons, and that is why it is vitally important people make sure they are using the right voting system, so they can make their vote count, she says.

“STV is really easy to use. The important thing to remember is that with STV people use numbers to rank the candidates. So you write the number ‘1’ next to the candidate you most want elected, a ‘2’ next to your second choice, and so on.

“People can rank as few or as many candidates as they want. They just need to make sure the numbers are in sequence – 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.”

The election is a postal ballot, and most voters should have received their voting packs. Polls close on October 9.

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All DHBs will be elected under the STV system, while the following 10 local authorities have also opted for STV:

Chatham Islands Council Dunedin City Council Kaipara District Council Kapiti District Council Marlborough District Council Matamata-Piako District Council Papakura District Council Porirua District Council Thames-Coromandel District Council Wellington City Council

STV voting is also being used in the elections for the Porirua Licensing Trust.

ENDS


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