21 April 2024

‘Surprisingly slow start’ to voter turn out so far in Hamilton

A ‘surprisingly slow start’ to voter turn out so far has been recorded in the current local government elections in Hamilton.

As of today, Wednesday, 29 September, just 7.1% of Hamilton’s regitered voters had returned their voting papers. This is half of the percentage of 2019 local government elections when 14.8% voters had cast their votes at this time.

This is a “surprisingly slow start”, according to Hamilton City Council Chief Executive, Lance Vervoort.

Despite the current polling numbers, Vervoort is backing Hamilton to deliver a result other centres will be envious of – as it did in 2019.  

Hamilton recorded the biggest increase in voter numbers of any metro council in 2019, with its turnout jumping to 39.4% from 33.6% in 2016.

The East Ward has returned the most votes with 8.0%, or 4175 of the 52,269 voters. The West Ward is sitting on 6.9%, or 3100 of the 44,667 voters.  

Just 4.2% (550 out 13,247) of those registered on the Kirikiriroa Maaori Ward Roll have had their say so far.  

Hamilton is not alone on the slow-vote trend, with low voter turnout being recorded by councils across the country (all as of 27 September).

Turnout in some other cities is:

Auckland (5.3%); Wellington (4.9%); Dunedin (6.5%), and Napier (7.7%);

The introduction of STV (Single Transferable Voting) and a stacked calendar of meet-the-candidate events could also be playing into slow voting returns.  

“If our voter turnout to date is a result of people taking their time to get acquainted with ranking candidates under STV rather than using ticks, and attending election events before making up their mind – that’s great,” said Vervoort.  

One of those events is Council’s Your Neighbourhood expo this Saturday from 1pm to 4pm in Garden Place.  

The event includes a Candidate Café area where voters can meet the people running for Council, and drop off their voting papers or cast a special vote.  

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