Victory voters angry advance polling location not open
Victory Community Centre.
Nelson south voters wanting to vote early in Victory have been turned away despite it being listed as an advance ballot station.
Staff at Victory Community Centre say they have had ongoing problems with voters turning up to cast their vote, despite the venue not being open until Saturday's official polling day.
A community hub for Toi Toi Valley and Nelson South residents and many former refugees, the centre was designated as an advance polling station but was only open for one day, between 1:15pm and 4pm last Friday.
The centre's programme and facilities manager Nicola Baré said they had a busy turnout on the day, with the queue out the door by 3pm including parents picking kids up from nearby Victory School.
"We could have easily been open for the last two weeks," she said.
The venue is still included on the elections website as an advance voting station, however no times or dates were listed beside it.
Baré said the lack of communication had resulted in an influx of people arriving at the Community Centre, only to be told it was not open for early votes.
The centre held another event over the weekend where more people had also turned up to vote, she said.
"Some people are getting a bit angry with the centre, when it's got nothing to do with us."
Staff were also concerned that those being turned away may be deterred from voting at another booth or on Saturday.
While there was an advance polling station at Nelson Intermediate on Tipahi St, Baré said many elderly had found the Victory Community Centre a more convenient place to access.
"We're getting quite a lot of elderly people because its convenient to drive right up to the door instead of trying to haggle for a park in town or where there's stairs, so they're a bit peeved off.
"There have been a lot of young first-time voters who have come in with their parents or just thought they'd come in, I don't know if that's deterred them and they just won't do it now."
Baré said the centre had not received a reply from elections staff, beyond a brief conversation with one representative last week.
"He said; 'Oh thats a shame, but there was no real follow-up."
An Electoral Commission spokeswoman Clare Pasley said it tried to provide facilities that met the needs of the local community, and while the Victory Community Centre was open for a short time only, it did provide the local community with another venue for advance voting.
The hours for advance voting were included the EasyVote packs sent to voters.
Hours were initially listed on its website at www.elections.org.nz but were inadvertently removed when the voting place information was updated this week.
"We apologise for the confusion this has caused and we will be updating the website so the hours are listed again."
Nelson advance voting and election day polling booth locations can be found