Early voter turnout surpasses 2019

Tauranga will find out who will be sitting on its new council after July 20.

With just over a week to election day, early voter turnout in Tauranga’s first city council election in five years has surpassed that in 2019.

This election will see a mayor and nine councillors chosen to replace the four Government-appointed commissioners governing Tauranga City Council since 2020, after the prior council was sacked.

The city’s electoral officer, Warwick Lampp, says more votes have been drawn than at this point in the 2019 election.

He believes introducing orange voting bins to supermarkets, shopping centres, and council and community spaces likely made the difference.

This election is the first time Tauranga has used the orange bins, also used in Wellington in its 2022 election.

It’s also the first time Tauranga City Council has offered candidates 90-second videos online to help profile each hopeful ahead of the election, which was using the Single-Transferable Vote (STV) system instead of First Past the Post.

Lampp says the bins collected 50 per cent of Wellington’s total votes in its election. He anticipates they will likely collect 80 per cent of Tauranga votes this election, “if not more”.

As of Tuesday, the Tauranga electoral office had received more than 10,600 votes, or just over 9.7 per cent of eligible voter turnout. Of those, about 1500 were through the post. Of the nine new wards, Bethlehem and Tauriko had the highest turnout so far.

“It’s ahead of what it was in 2019 but it’s hard to compare because it was a postal system then and the return profile will be different,” says Lampp.

In total, just 40.28 per cent of eligible people voted in 2019. The 2016 turnout was 38.07 per cent and it was 37.78 per cent in 2013.

Lampp hopes for greater numbers this time around.

“We’ve found that the best way for people to vote is to make it as easy as possible, so we’ve got orange bins at supermarkets, council premises, community spaces, etc.”

Forty-five orange bins have been placed in 43 locations throughout the city. People can find their nearest bin via the Tauranga City Council website. Postal voting is also still an option for voters.

Isabella Etherington, 19, is excited to vote for the first time in the Tauranga election.

Lampp says the postal system is not what it used to be and already feedback has described the bins as “helpful” and “easy” to use.

“They will really come into their own next week at the last minute when it’s too late to post,” he said.

First-time voter Isabella Etherington was among those voting early, using the orange bin at the entrance to Pak’nSave, Cameron Rd.

Etherington, 19, says she's “excited to have my say”.

“I feel it is a bit of a big deal. We’ve got four years of the next council. It’s quite a long time. It’s quite historic,” she says.

Etherington says she feels there's enough awareness among her age group of why voting was so important.

“People don’t really understand or know enough about it to care,” she says.

She says she feels the more people who vote, the broader the spectrum of people representing the community in council chambers.

“I read through the leaflet and talked to Mum and Dad, I probably took about 30 to 40 minutes to decide who to vote for.”

Etherington says the new orange bins make voting easy and accessible and hopes others will take advantage of them.

Special voting began on June 29 and special vote events will be held this weekend at the Historic Village Hall on Saturday between 9am and 1pm and at Tauranga Crossing, between 2 Degrees and Platypus, on Sunday between 10am and 2pm.

People have until July 17 to post their vote or July 19 to enrol and be able to vote. On July 20, election day, voting closes and preliminary results will be announced.

The new council will serve a four-year term instead of the usual three, rejoining the normal local body election cycle in 2028.

How to vote using STV

Instead of ticking the candidates you want to vote for, with STV you number the candidates in order of preference.

Put a “1″ beside the candidate you like best, “2″ beside your second choice, “3″ by your third choice, and so on. You can vote for as many or as few candidates as you like.

By giving the number “1″ to a candidate, you are saying that the candidate is your number one choice.

By ranking other candidates you are also saying which other candidates you prefer:

  • if your top choice doesn’t have enough support to get in or;
  • if your top choice doesn’t need all the votes they received to be elected.

For your vote to be counted there needs to be a single ‘1′ in each category (ward and mayoralty). After that, the numbers you use must be in sequence and there must be only one of each number. If you make a mistake, your vote will be valid up to when you made the error - for example, if you miss out a “4″ and just rank 1, 2, 3 and 5, only your first three preferences will be valid.

Source - www.stv.govt.nz

-Bay of Plenty Times.

1 comment

Just vote

Posted on 12-07-2024 08:58 | By an_alias

You need to have your say but just dont vote for anyone make sure they represent the future you would like for Tauranga.

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