Polling lesson for debut voters

First-time voters unsure how the electoral system works are invited to attend a public meeting in Levin next week.

Rather than being a meeting where candidates ask for your vote, the event on Wednesday will explain how to vote.

Organised by Horowhenua District Council customer service representative Millie Dewar, a first-time voter herself, the meeting will be held at 6.30pm at Te Takere.

Speaking will be veteran political journalist Tom Frewen and Hannah Duder, a university law student and manager for the Virgin Voter Collective.

The collective is a nationwide and neutral effort to reverse the decline of young voter participation in New Zealand.

Speakers at Wednesday's meeting will explain why we have elections, how the MMP system works and why it's important to vote.

At the last election 73.8 per cent of registered voters voted, down from the 79.5 per cent voter turnout in 2008.

People aged 18 to 24 are the least likely to vote or be enrolled to vote.

The latest statistics from the Electoral Commission, released on Sunday, showed 95.96 per cent of eligible voters in Otaki, the electorate that includes Levin, were enrolled to vote.

The lowest rate of enrolment was with 18- to 24-year-olds, of whom 83.83 per cent were registered to vote.

Voters can enrol up until September 19 though anyone who enrols between today and election day, September 20, will have to place a special vote, which takes slightly longer.

Manawatu Standard