Amendment to provide Special Vote to unregistered people

Meka Whaitiri

Wellington, June 7, 2017

Democracy will be enhanced under Labour’s Private Member’s Bill which will have its First Reading today.

Under my Bill, the Electoral (Registration by Special Vote) Amendment Bill, unregistered voters will be able to register by completing a special vote.

There were 331,005 special votes cast in 2014. Of the special votes cast last election, 27,467 were disallowed because the voter was not enrolled at all.

Enhancing democracy

My Bill will enhance democracy in New Zealand by ensuring those whose voice would otherwise not be heard are engaged in the political process and have their votes counted.

This amendment to the Electoral Act would enact recommendations made by the Electoral Commission and enable tens of thousands more Kiwis to participate in our democratic process.

That’s vitally important if voters are to elect a Parliament that is truly representative of our communities.

For various reasons voters may choose to complete a special vote, which involves submitting their details and signing a statutory declaration in front of a witness, unaware that they are not enrolled to vote.

I look forward to Government support for this Bill which will enhance democratic participation and streamline the electoral process.

Meka Whaitiri is Member of Parliament representing Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Economic Development (including Social Development).

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