People are being encouraged to hurry up and vote in the local body elections with votes closing on October 12.
Tauranga City Council Electoral Officer Warwick Lampp says voter turnout is down in most places.
“It’s a bit of a concern particularly given that there has been lots of interest in meet the candidate sessions in Tauranga and around the country.”
“We are keen to encourage people to get out and vote asap.”
According to data from electionz.com 3.5 per cent of voting papers for the Tauranga City Council elections had been returned by September 30 - this is compared to 8.01% by the same date in the 2016 election.
By September 30 2013 voter turnout was 10.65 per cent and 10.56 per cent in 2010.
The 2016 election had a total voter turnout of 38.07 per cent compared to 37.78 per cent in 2013 and 43.64 per cent in 2010.
Warwick is unsure why people are slow to vote this year, but says it could be because there are a lot of candidates to choose from, so people are taking their time.
He says normally 40 per cent to 50 per cent of votes come through in the first week of voting, with a lull in the middle week then voting ramps up in the final week.
“I think next week is going to busy.”
It is up to individual councils to try increase voter engagement and online voting systems have been looked into, he says.
“Online votes have been thought about and looked at and [we] tried to make happen this time around but for a whole raft of reasons it didn’t get there.
“It will happen after this election, there’ll be lots of talk about it, maybe next time. We’re certainly keen to look at other options.”
If people haven’t received their voting papers by September 25 they should contact the council.
If anyone didn’t enrol to vote or haven’t updated their electoral details by August 16 they will need to cast a special vote.
Meet the candidate events are still happening around the city and information about them can be found here.
This Friday the Tauranga Youth Advisory Group is holding an event at Our Place encouraging young people to ‘Outvote Boomers’ from 5pm to 8pm. People can take their voting papers or cast a special vote.
Warwick says council office is going to open on Saturday morning for people to do a special vote as well.