Forms to be posted by today

Mitre 10 MEGA general manager Brent Stewart and financial controller Maria Majboroda voting in the local body elections 2019. PHOTO/FILE

KAREN COLTMAN

karen.coltman@age.co.nz

Masterton’s ‘Vote Day’ on Saturday paid dividends with a steady stream of people arriving at the Queen Street council offices and more than a hundred people bringing their ballot papers in to Mitre 10 Mega on Ngaumutawa Road.

On Friday good news arrived in the form of current voting statistics with Masterton’s 2019 voting [up to October 4] creeping ahead of the 2016 figures – 24.75 per cent completed voting, as opposed 23.94 per cent with eight days voting still to be counted.

With no updates over the weekend, today’s figures will be eagerly anticipated.

Carterton sat at 24.17 per cent as opposed to 26.23 per cent three years ago, while South Wairarapa sat at 27.78 per cent as opposed to 30.66 per cent last local body election.

Masterton District Council communications manager Shanna Crispin is a member of a project team promoting the elections.

“It’s been good to see our numbers going up,” she said. “We have a team of five people working hard to get the turnout up and we’re pleased with this.

“There was no mayoral competition last election but this year there are four candidates so we think the voter turnout will be not too bad at all considering it is pretty low across the country.

“It’s gone extremely well at Mitre 10. We wanted to go where we know there are a lot of people and it has worked.”

Crispin said the council hasn’t previously been so active but with the challenges of postal voting it was decided a hands-on approach would help.

“Obviously the postal system is problematic for those that really don’t use post boxes anymore,” she said. “We have a team keen on local democracy and helping voters.

“Many people brought their envelopes to the council office for Vote Day ready to pop into the box,” she said.

Carterton District Council election officer Elisa Vorster said it also had a busy ‘vote day’.

“It was pretty good actually. We had a lot a people handing in their papers to the council office. It was good to see the ballot box full.”

But both Masterton and Carterton District Councils report many coming in needing to do a special vote as they haven’t got their papers.

Vorster said, “people really are running out of time now”.

“We are still urging people who don’t have voting papers to come into the office and enrol to do a special vote,” she said. “We enrol them and they can vote then and there if they wish. We can post both forms off together.”

From today the council is sending the completed forms by courier to be sure they arrive in time.

NZ Post has indicated that is the cut-off date if voters want to ensure their posted forms arrive on time. Voting closes at midday next Saturday.