10 Oct 2020

More voters expected this election than before

1:50 pm on 10 October 2020

A New Zealand politics expert expects voter turn out to be higher than normal for this election due to the two referendums up for the vote.

Voters queueing on the first day of voting, at a Riddiford Street polling station in Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Hamish Cardwell

In addition to voting for a political party, voters will get to have their say on cannabis legalisation and the End of Life Choice Act.

As of yesterday, almost 600,000 New Zealanders had already voted - hundreds of thousands of people more than the equivalent time last election.

Auckland University politics lecturer Lara Greaves expects turnout to be higher than last year as voters are not just voting for a political party.

"People kind of don't necessarily connect voting for a political party with change on issues that are important to them but they do in terms of direct democracy and voting in referendums.

"Some of our research shows that people actually likes referendums and they like voting in referendums so I expected that to increase by the turnout overall."

Greaves said daily Covid 19 briefings and movements like 'Black Lives Matter' may have pushed more young people to enrol for this election.

By yesterday, 75 percent of 18 to 25 year olds were enrolled, compared to 71 percent overall in the last election.

Greaves said the the daily coronavirus updates by the prime minister and top officials may have increased people's awareness of how politics affects their everyday life.

She said the Black Lives Matter and Strike for Climate Change marches also may have prompted young people to be more politically active.

Protesters gathered in Aotea Square, Auckland with their signs for the Black Lives Matter rally on 14 June, 2020.

A Black Lives Matter protest in Auckland in June. Photo: RNZ / Mabel Muller

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