INDEPENDENT NEWS

Young voters may lose opportunity to vote

Published: Tue 9 Oct 2001 10:23 AM
Media Release October 9, 2001
Young voters may lose opportunity to vote in local body elections
Young people who have recently turned 18 and enrolled to vote may lose the opportunity to do so in the local body elections because they have not been sent voting papers.
This was the word today from Wellington mayoral candidate Mary Varnham.
Varnham has urged Wellington city council electoral officer Ross Bly to take urgent action to ensure young voters are made aware that, in order to vote, they need to register a special vote at the council office or another polling place before noon this Saturday (October 13).
Varnham said nobody who enrolled after August 30 had been sent voting papers. ‘The only way for these people to vote is to register a special vote. However many young people do not know this, and are still expecting voting papers to arrive in the mail.’
Bly had told her there had been some publicity, but admitted it may not have been sufficiently well targeted to reach young people. She had asked him to get the message out through radio stations such as Radio Active and 91ZM, which had a large youth audience.
Varnham said she had become aware of the problem at Saturday’s GE-Free rally in Civic Square.
‘I spoke to numerous young people who were keen to vote but were under the mistaken impression they would be receiving voting papers in the mail.’
Wellington parent Steve Jessup backed up Varnham’s comments. Jessup said he was shocked that none of the three young people in his household had received voting papers, or information on how to make a special vote, even though all three had enrolled and had their enrolment officially confirmed. He had also collected the names of other young people at the GE-Free rally who were in the same situation.
Further information:
Mary Varnham Steve Jessup
801-9928 or 025-341-471 971-8067 or 025-762-288

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