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First Votes In 2008 General Election Cast Tomorrow

MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday 21 October 2008 Chief Electoral Office Ministry of Justice

First Votes In 2008 General Election Cast Tomorrow

The first votes in the 2008 General Election will be cast from tomorrow (Wednesday 22 October) by voters who can't get to a polling place in their electorate on Election Day.

Advance voting opens at 9am on Wednesday 22 October and closes at 6pm on Friday 7 November.

"Advance voting makes voting easier for people who may be on holiday, working or can't get to a polling place in their electorate on election day for some reason," says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer.

More than 250 advance voting places will be available for people to go to vote.

There will also be special arrangements in some electorates including:establishing voting facilities for people on the Chatham Islands and sending ballot papers by fishing boat to Pitt Island visits to communities along an 80km stretch of the Whanganui River workers on oil rigs off the Taranaki Coast voting before they head off for their fortnightly shift offshore three vans visiting small communities in the West Coast electorate and issuing votes in places such as the Otira tearooms and a resident's home in the Waitaha Valley electoral officials visiting communities in parts of the Kaikoura electorate in a mobile voting campervan and also sending ballot papers by boat to Stephens Island

Teams of staff will also visit hospitals and resthomes to ensure people who can't get to a polling place have the opportunity to vote.

In 2005 197,938 or 8.59 percent of votes were advance votes, this compares to 132,609 or 6.45 percent in 2002.

Most advance voting places will either be fully accessible or accessible with assistance for people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.

Details of advance voting places, including their accessibility ratings, are available from the elections website www.elections.org.nz ( http://www.elections.org.nz/ ), by calling 0800 36 76 56 or from local Returning Officers.

Media Opportunity: On the first day of advance voting Wednesday 22 October media are invited to the AUT Wellesley Campus Advance Voting Place, at 12.15pm.

Approved media will be able to film inside the advance voting place. Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden will be available for interviews. Media will NOT be able to conduct exit polls of how voters voted.

To confirm attendance please contact Anna Hughes, Communications Advisor.

Details: 12:15pm Wednesday 22 October 2008 AUT University Wellesley Campus, Level 2 WC Building Wellesley Street, Auckland

ENDS

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