A free Hamilton festival is hoping to strike the right chord with young people yet to cast their vote.
City youth group We Are Hamilton has organised the afternoon festival in Civic Square in a final push to get young people to vote.
As of yesterday, voting return rates remain low across the Waikato region, with most districts struggling to match previous election turnouts.
Waikato District has the lowest turnout to date, with only 26 per cent of voters returning their ballot papers.
Waipa district is only marginally better at 26.73 per cent while Hamilton voters have nudged their return rates to 29.49 per cent.
A Waikato Regional Council survey showed females aged over 55 were most inclined to vote.
Males aged 18-34 were most likely not to vote.
Reasons given for not voting included not knowing about councils, disinterest in council politics and a lack of information.
We Are Hamilton member Laura Tynan, 23, said many young people were interested in council affairs but were turned off by the electoral process. Young voters found postal voting inconvenient and "not very exciting".
The free festival was a way to connect people with the election.
"Everyone is welcome to attend and what we are doing is encouraging people to come along with their completed voting papers and post them as they enter," Ms Tynan said.
"Postal voting isn't appealing to young people because they want to be connected to people and their community. The concert is a chance for them to come along and be part of something."
A selection of local crafts, food and coffee stalls will be available at the event which starts at 3pm.
Performers include Waikato SmokeFree Rockquest winners All Of A Kind and television X-Factor performer Tom Batchelor.
Batchelor said he was eager to highlight the importance of voting.
"New Zealanders voting, even just in their local body elections, can change the way we live," he said.
Ms Tynan said the low voter turnout was a concern and she hoped electronic voting was used in future.
"If people aren't engaging with the process you have to go to where they are or get them to come to you.
"The young people that we've spoken to are well aware and are well informed. They know all about the fluoride debate. The challenge is to make them feel involved."
Today's festival is open to all age groups.
Ms Tynan said the event could be moved to Wintec's Student Hub in case of wet weather.
People who have not enrolled to vote can still apply for voting papers by calling 0800 922 822.
Councils across the Waikato will be receiving ballot papers up until midday tomorrow.
BALLOT PAPERS RECEIVED
As of October 9
Thames-Coromandel District Council 39.30 per cent*
Rotorua District Council 35 per cent
Taupo District Council 34.84 per cent
Otorohanga District Council 34.07 per cent
Matamata-Piako District Council 31.75 per cent
Waitomo District Council 30.59 per cent
Hauraki District Council 30.30 per cent
South Waikato District Council 30.23 per cent
Hamilton City Council 29.49 per cent*
Waipa District Council 26.73 per cent
Waikato District Council 26 per cent*
* As of October 10
WHERE VOTERS CAN HAND DELIVER BALLOT PAPERS
Thames-Coromandel District Council: Council's Thames office and service centres in Coromandel, Mercury Bay and Whangamata.
Rotorua District Council: Council's Rotorua civic centre.
Taupo District Council: Council's Taupo office.
Otorohanga District Council: Council's Otorohanga office.
Matamata-Piako District Council: Morrinsville public library and council offices in Te Aroha and Matamata.
Waitomo District Council: Council's Te Kuiti office.
Hauraki District Council: Council's Ngatea and Waihi service centres and main office in Paeroa.
South Waikato District Council: Council's Putaruru office and administration building in Tokoroa.
Hamilton City Council: City's six public libraries, council reception and electoral office on Anglesea St.
On Saturday, the council is offering a drive-through service from 9am - 12pm. Go to the 10 minute carpark outside the council building on Anglesea St and staff will bring the ballot box to you.
Waipa District Council: Council's Cambridge service centre and head office in Te Awamutu.
Waikato District Council: council's offices in Ngaruawahia, Raglan, Huntly and Tuakau, and public libraries in Raglan, Huntly, Te Kauwhata and Tuakau.
All venues, apart from Hamilton City Council's main reception, opened until noon tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you support the introduction of water meters to Hamilton city?Related story: (See story)