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Record numbers take to the polls

Election officers Karena Floray and Clive Carver working at 38 Queen St. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

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Thousands of Wairarapa voters are flowing in and out of voting places to cast their general election vote early. This is the trend at all 22 voting places in the district with 38 Queen St, Masterton, the busiest.

The number of people voting early is well up on the previous two elections.

More than 6000 Wairarapa voters have already ticked their candidate preference, voted for a political party, and cast their vote on the two referendum questions.

From just after 10am on the first day of advance voting on Saturday, the queue spanned from the 38 Queen St to outside the library at number 54.

Local Electoral Commission staff said they were well-trained but a bit overwhelmed in the first hour on the weekend.

“Fortunately, the commission gave us very clear steps to follow and the whole voting system is very well organised,” election officer Clive Carver said.

“We got into the rhythm of it within an hour last Saturday and it is exciting to be involved.

“I really like meeting people and working in the community.”

On Wednesday at 3pm within 10 minutes, 15 people walked in to vote with some of them enrolling on the spot and voting moments later.

Some people are coming to Carver’s desk to enrol or to make special votes.

Special votes are for those living outside the area who don’t have their name on the Wairarapa roll.

Carver said the referendums could raise voter turnout numbers.

Each voter gets a purple form, which has the two referendum questions on it and an orange form to cast a general vote.

They are directed to a voting booth to mark their preferences and to put their voting papers in an orange, purple, grey, or white box.

The grey box is for those on the Maori role voting for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate.

Returning officer Chris Giles was preparing to open another 28 voting places over the weekend.

He was preparing for the weekend to be busy.

Across New Zealand, 93,420 people voted on Saturday.

This was a giant leap in advance voting compared with the first day of voting in 2017 when 39,570 people voted, and in 2014 when 12,031 people voted on the first day.

By close of voting on Tuesday, across New Zealand, 372,295 people had voted, which was about 100,000 people more than at four days in 2017.

Eighty-three per cent of Wairarapa voters enrolled to vote in 2017 voted.

  • Election day is Saturday, October 17.

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