Warm Up Your Voice to Have Your Say

17 September 2013

If you care about Wellington and how it’s run, get ready to have your say in the 2013 local elections.

Voting papers will be sent to all enrolled voters from Friday through until the middle of next week. The elections taking place are for Wellington City Council (Mayor and Councillors), Greater Wellington Regional Council, Capital & Coast District Health Board and Tawa Community Board.

Voters have until noon on Saturday 12 October to return their papers and help determine who will represent them for the next three years.

Wellington City Electoral Officer Charlie Inggs urges all Wellingtonians to have their say. “It’s up to you to choose who will best represent you and your community. That old adage ‘if you don’t vote, you can’t complain’ may sound flippant but it’s important for Wellingtonians to understand that every vote really does count and you should use your voice to say who you want to make decisions on your behalf.”

Charlie says using your voice is easy. “Candidate information is included with the voting papers but there are also some great tools to find out more about candidates, whether you want to attend a ‘meet the candidates’ meeting near you, or visit the vote.co.nz website to read more about candidates and ask them a question.

“Then you simply rank candidates in your preferred order, as part of voting under the Single Transferable Vote, or STV, system.”

Under STV, voters rank their preferred candidates by placing a ‘1’ in the box next to the candidate they most prefer, a ‘2’ beside the candidate they next prefer, and so on. You can rank as many or as few candidates as you like, as you don’t have to rank them all. A detailed explanation of how STV works can be found on the stv.govt.nz website.

“Then you return the completed voting papers in the Freepost return envelope provided – either by post, or to a ballot box. Just make sure they reach my office in plenty of time before voting closes on the 12th,” says Charlie.

Ballot boxes will be in city libraries from 2 October, and at the Council offices from this Friday – with the after-hours option of a letterbox slot by the main Wakefield Street entrance.

If you’re voting by post, the last day for posting your papers is Wednesday 9 October. And if you’re heading out of town during the school holidays, remember to vote before you go or take the papers with you for posting.

However, if you haven’t received voting papers by the end of next week, you will need to cast a special vote in the elections. If your voting papers are damaged or spoiled, or your name was added to the electoral roll after 16 August, a special vote will also be needed.

To apply for a special vote, phone 499 4444 or call into the elections office at the Council on Wakefield Street. Special voting will also be conducted at the Hub, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn campus, from 9.30am to 3pm on Wednesday 25 September.

There are no elections for Makara/Ohariu Community Board, Wellington District Hutt Mana Charitable Trust and Porirua Tawa Constituency of Greater Wellington Regional Council because nominated candidates have been elected unopposed.

For more information on candidates and how to vote, see:

Election 2013