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Image: Electoral Commission

PoliticsOctober 14, 2023

Despite reports of delays, everyone will still be able to vote today

a hand placing a ballot in a box
Image: Electoral Commission

A now resolved technical issue coupled with ‘high demand’ were prompting lengthy wait times at some polling booths. But the Electoral Commission says don’t freak out, everyone will be able to cast a vote.

Voters around the country are being told to bear with following reports of lengthy queues at polling stations. 

Roughly two million people are expected to vote today. That’s slightly fewer than the number who voted on election day in 2017, but well below 2020 when close to two million had already cast their ballot in advance.

As such, today is something of a return to election days prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the Electoral Commission confirmed earlier today that a technical issue with the electronic version of the electoral roll had been causing some additional delays. This has since been fixed, and the commission’s advising people to stick it out – you will be able to vote.

“The app is used to look up people who don’t have their EasyVote card or don’t know which electorate they are in,” an Electoral Commission spokesperson said in a statement.

“The issue has had no impact on most people’s voting experience but caused some delays for people casting a special vote at some of our busiest voting places.”

One person told The Spinoff that “multiple people” had been turned away and told to vote elsewhere because of the technical issue. “In just the time that I was there, at least 12 people were turned away and possibly more,” they said. 

The Electoral Commission did not address this specific incident in its statement to The Spinoff. However, they said “no voting places have been closed” as a result of the problem with the online roll.

a hand placing a ballot in a box
Image: Electoral Commission

In its statement, the commission added “there have been queues at some voting places today due to high demand and additional staff have been brought in to support our busiest voting places. 

“Between 11am and 2pm are usually the busiest times to vote on election day.”

In Ellerslie, queues to vote at the suburb’s main polling centre had reached the door when The Spinoff visited earlier but staff said these were moving quickly. 

One staff member said that it had been quiet all week as people were opting to vote on election day itself. As a result, they said there had been queues all day but these were usually no longer than five minutes. 

Elsewhere, there have been reports of people waiting about 20 minutes to cast a vote.

More than 2,300 voting places will remain open around the country until polls close at 7pm.

The Electoral Commission confirmed that with “a large number of people coming out to vote” today anyone waiting in line to cast a ballot at the time of the 7pm cut off would still be able to do so. 

Official results will start to roll in once polls formally close and you will be able to find them here on The Spinoff.

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