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Breaking Down The Ballot, Here’s How To Make Your Vote Count This Year

By Jess Willemse
6th Sep 2020

Between a global pandemic, Harry and Meghan ditching the royals and Kanye West announcing his candidacy to become the next US celebrity president, 2020 has been a year—and it’s only August.

So, in case you missed it, 2020 is also an election year for New Zealand. That’s right crew, the season of political headlines and brazen billboards is upon us and come October 3–17, you’ll be able to have your say on the future of Aotearoa. Whether you’re a first-time voter, sitting on the fence, new to the game or unsure of the process, don’t fret, we’ve partnered with the Electoral Commission to help you to get ‘vote fit’ in a few simple steps. 

#1 Suss Out Your ‘Why’ 

The common question among our generation is simple—but why should I vote? And the truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this one. Each person’s ‘why’ will be different, but at the end of the day, they’re all equally important. 

Serious stat: did you know that half of young Kiwis don’t plan to vote in this year’s general election? If that doesn’t leave you shook we don’t know what will. Talking to your family and friends and schooling up on the policies you care about are all sure-fire ways to help you understand your ‘why’ going into this election. And if you’re lost with where to start, we suggest taking a crack at On The Fence, a site that helps align your values and interests with policies, political parties and candidates. It’s pretty much a BuzzFeed quiz for voting and we’re into it—keep your eyes peeled as the new site drops in late August.   

#2 Gear Up And Get Enrolled 

Mark the date and fire up the group chat, because you need to make sure you’re enrolled by Sunday, September 13 to make voting really easy. It’s pretty straightforward, if you’re already enrolled, you would have received an enrolment pack in the mail to check your details. If you enrol before Sunday, September 13 you’ll also get an EasyVote pack in early September that  includes everything you need to know about the process, the candidates and parties (the political kind, sorry), plus when and where to vote. You’ll also have scored a snazzy EasyVote card to make voting even easier on the day.  

But if you haven’t received your speccy enrolment pack yet, or need to update your contact details, don’t stress. Simply have your NZ drivers licence or passport handy, head over to Vote NZ and follow the instructions to do it online—done and dusted. 

#3 Make Your Mark From October 3–17

Voting starts soon and it’s officially time to make your mark. Again, it’s beyond simple—come October 3–17 there will be a slew of voting places popping up around the country, and you can find your nearest voting place here or check the list here. Some places are still being confirmed so make sure you check again just before heading down to vote.

Our advice? Make a date of it—book in for a spot of brunch and voting, head out for a stroll and stop by the voting places or opt for a late-afternoon vote with a pint of craft brew afterwards. Whoever said voting had to be boring? Pro tip: take your EasyVote card for a seamless process, but you can still vote without it—and you don’t even need your ID. Winning. 

If you’re not enrolled, you can actually enrol and vote at the same time, even on election day—talk about easy. Plus, don’t forget that in addition to voting for a political party and your local candidate, you can also vote in referendums on the end of life choice and cannabis. Just tick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to have your say on these topics.

#4 Throw A Post-Voting Party 

The truth is, we’ll take any excuse to celebrate—and your post-voting party should be just that! Keep an eye out for results as they roll in from 7pm on election night, Saturday, October 17 and congratulate your crew on having their input into the future of our country. Short on post-voting celebratory ideas? We can help with that. If we're still in lockdown life (here's hoping we're not!) nothing beats a virtual hang out—cocktails and matching loungewear is mandatory. But if we're blessed to be back to Level One, why not show your local some support and hit up an epic circus arcade bar, sample some of your city’s hottest new openings or catch the best things to do in New Zealand this weekend

Ready to make your mark and cast your vote this year? Say hello to our old mate the Orange Guy and find out everything you need to know at Vote NZ thanks to the Electoral Commission

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by the Electoral Commission and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

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