Poor turnout for elections’disappointing’

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

“Disappointing” is how the Clutha District Council electoral officer Dale Ofsoske described the state of the Clutha district’s electoral voting returns at 3pm on Monday.

“With just a few days to go we have only seen 17% of voters take part in this year’s election process.

“That is significantly well down on the 26% return rate we saw three years ago,” he said.

Mr Ofsoske said he put this down to three important factors which had affected voting in the Clutha district.

There is no mayoral election this year. When there is one, voter numbers are generally better, but this year there are only three wards to vote for so numbers are down.

Secondly, many found the alternate day postal service disrupted the usual flow, with voters getting their forms on different days.

And thirdly, the public had not shown much interest because of the high number of seats already decided.

“People must use this opportunity to exercise their democratic rights because the local councils play such a pivotal role in their community,” Mr Ofsoske said.

“We are past the last mailing date which was Tuesday, so if you would still like to cast your vote or lodge a special vote, please hand-deliver the forms to any of the four returning stations at the CDC offices in Balclutha, Milton, Lawrence or Tapanui before midday on Saturday, October 12.”

Mr Ofsoske said progress results would be released to the council about 2pm on on Saturday (about 95% of votes counted), followed by preliminary results on Sunday morning (about 98% of votes) and the final results (100% of votes, including special votes) late afternoon on October 17.