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September 28, 2014 | by  | in News |
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4,000 sheeple wake up early. Students advance vote on campus.

Nearly 4000 students advance-voted on campus prior to this year’s election, though it is unknown who they voted for.

A total of 3710 people voted on campus over nine days before the official election day. Constituents of Wellington Central totalled 1452, Te Tai Tonga was 70, total votes for other local electorates were 953, and special votes numbered 1225.

One student who cast an advance vote stated their reason for doing so was to do with timing.

“Working around university work means that it was easier for me to vote while I was already on campus, instead of going out on Saturday to a polling booth.”

Another student said “this early in the year I have so many other commitments with university, work and sports, so the weekend isn’t really an option for me.”

VUWSA Engagement Officer Declan Doherty-Ramsay said the turnout showed students weren’t apathetic about politics.

“I think to double what the Electoral Commission expected for Victoria really shows how interested and engaged students here are, and also how successful the campaign VUWSA ran was.”

The official results of the election for each electorate will be released on 4 October.

717,000 advance votes around the country helped to increase the voter turnout last week, more than double the number of advance votes in 2011.

More than 2.4 million people turned out to vote in total, or 77.04 per cent, which was an increase on the historically low 2011 number of 74.21 per cent.

University of Otago political scientist Bryce Edwards said that compared to 2011, the number “could only go up from there.”

“It would be astonishing if the turnout hadn’t gone up… this has been the most colourful, engaging and loud campaign that we’ve seen in living memory.”

“Unlike the last two election campaigns of 2008 and 2011, this was far from boring and bland: it seemed that it was highly competitive and gripping.”

Mr Edwards stated, however, that the improved numbers did not mean an end to the problem of low voter turnout for future elections.

“It shouldn’t really give politicians and the political parties a sense that the problems of New Zealand elections and connecting with people, particularly youth, are now over.”

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