Students given message of enrolling to vote

University of Otago students are being encouraged to find issues that matter to them and make them matter to their friends in the period leading up to this year’s parliamentary election.

Otago University Students’ Association president Jack Manning this week reminded students of the importance of voting.

"If there is one thing that we as students can all achieve together, it is to show the Government and the rest of New Zealand, that there is nothing more powerful and capable of change than an informed electorate," he told first-year students at the university’s convocation ceremony on Monday.

Enrolment teams from the Electoral Commission have been attending Orientation Week events in Dunedin this week to remind students to enrol now, so they will be ready to vote when this year’s election and referendums come around.

Electoral Commission chief electoral officer Alicia Wright said it was important to make sure young people did not miss out on the chance for having their voices heard.

"If you are a student, the start of the year often means moving to a new city, residential hall or flat.

"One of the things you need to sort out is updating your address on the electoral roll, and we will be there at Orientation events to help."

Younger voters had responded well to the improved online enrolment service, Ms Wright reckoned.

People could now use a New Zealand driver licence or New Zealand passport, as well as a RealMe verified identity, to enrol or update their address online.

"On average it takes voters under the age of 25 just four to five minutes to enrol online using their driver licence."

The 2020 general election will be held on September 19.

Referendums will also be held on whether the recreational use of cannabis should become legal and whether the End of Life Choice Act 2019 should come into force.

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