Record numbers vote early in 2020 New Zealand election

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 17 Oct 2020, 5:30PM
Early voting in the 2020 general election has attracted almost 2 million voters. Photo / Chris Gorman
Early voting in the 2020 general election has attracted almost 2 million voters. Photo / Chris Gorman

Record numbers vote early in 2020 New Zealand election

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 17 Oct 2020, 5:30PM

Almost 2 million votes have been cast in advance of this election day, a huge jump from previous early voting numbers in the 2017 and 2014 general elections.

By 5pm yesterday 1,976,996 people had already voted in the 2020 general election and two referendums, after voting opened on October 3.

The highest daily number of votes since then was yesterday, with 233,575, followed by 206,477 last Sunday, even though only 850 voting booths were open.

In 2017 there were 1.24 million advance votes and just 717,579 early voters in 2014.

An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said it encouraged early voting to help manage Covid-19 alert level 1 restrictions.

"Advance voting has been growing in popularity so we did expect to see an increase, but we also did encourage people to vote early to help spread out voting across the period because of Covid-19, to reduce queues in voting places."

She said it was too early to say whether the number of advanced voters would contribute to an overall higher voter turnout.

"We will not know turnout until late tonight. We will have an estimate."

The spokeswoman said voting today had been steady across the 2567 voting booths around New Zealand.

Counting of the advanced votes began at 9am today, giving the Electoral Commission a head-start on results, which won't be announced until after the polls close.

Today's voting centres close at 7pm when the rest of the counting will take place and preliminary results are expected soon after.

 

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