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Youth vote: Nearly 5% more 18 to 29 year olds enrolled than in 2017

There are just two more sleeps until election day, but that has not stopped efforts to get more young people enrolled to vote.

Danielle Lesatele, who is a youth voter advocate in South Auckland, says the last few weeks have not always been smooth sailing.

"A lot of young people aren't really informed about the election and they don't know if they are on roll and they don't know if they've enrolled or not.

"They don't know if they can vote or who to vote for - the referendums as well."

Work like hers has made a difference though, with more than 77 percent of 18 to 29 year olds now enrolled, up from 72.5 percent in 2017.

Another youth voting advocate, Aisea Latu, says enrolling was the easy bit.

"We live in a time and age where our young people are quite vocal when it comes to a lot of things they are always online - social media," he says.

"We have always tried to guide them into the voting booths to try to make their voices heard better like that."

He says life for young people in South Auckland has not been easy this year, and thinks it could be why more are hitting the booths.

"A lot of our young people are dropping out of high school to support their families and a lot of these issues come up during the debates ... so it's quite important this year the young people get out there. And they are. We are seeing a lot of young people out there trying to get enrolled and getting informed."

Someone who made sure to get informed this time was Galuafe Kivalu.

It was the first time she had been able to vote, with the 2017 election falling just one month before her 18th birthday.

"I really was so disappointed so I'm really excited to vote this year."

She is hoping to see education issues addressed as an outcome of the election, ensuring that everyone has equal access to learning opportunities.

Another voter, Tumama Tu'ulua, says the referendums could be what is driving so many young people in his community to enrol.

"I've seen a lot - even my personal bubbles, the conversations we've been having - those are two issues that, especially around the cannabis referendum, but then even the End of Life - obviously the youth suicide rate in New Zealand, especially for Pasifika-Māori, which obviously are shocking and then it's interesting seeing the parallels in how people are trying to connect the two together."

People are still able to enrol to vote on election day - and the polls close at 7pm.

© Scoop Media

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