Early voting grows in popularity in Invercargill
Even before the doors opened for advance voting for the general election in Invercargill, there was a queue of people waiting.
Advanced voting places opened across the country on Monday, with two weeks to run until election day on September 23.
Returning officer for Invercargill Sandra Robb said several people had queued up before staff had opened the doors at 9am at the advance voting place in the Menzies Building.
Throughout the day there had been a steady flow of people casting their vote.
Advance voting was available for people who were unable to vote on election day, Robb said.
"A lot of people think that you have to have a specific reason but anybody that wants to vote early can vote early."
This year there was more advance voting places open in the lead up to the election, Robb said.
They would be open during the two weeks until election day, on September 23.
For the first time this year, there would be the opportunity to cast an advance vote in Bluff on September 20.
There were six advance voting places throughout Invercargill, as well as in Bluff, Riverton, Wyndham and Otatara.
More opportunities were being provided for people to cast their vote in advance because it was growing in popularity, she said.
An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said the major turning point in advance voting came about during the 2011 election, after changes to the electoral law in 2010 that advance voters did not have to make a statutory declaration that they would be unable to vote on election day.
In the 2011 general election, 14.2 per cent of the total votes in the election had been cast in advance, and in the 2014 election the figure grew to 28.7 per cent, the spokeswoman said.
With continued growth in advance voting, the Electoral Commission had planned for the possibility that as many as half the voters could cast their vote before election day this year, she said.