Schools given voting extension

Two southern schools have been granted an extension to the voting deadline for school board of trustee elections, following delays in the New Zealand postal service.

Voting for the three-yearly elections was supposed to close at noon last Friday.

However, the New Zealand School Trustee Association raised concerns last week when it became apparent many valid voting papers might not be counted because of the erratic nature of postal deliveries.

A voting paper received after voting closed would be invalid, unless it was posted and the date stamp on the envelope showed it was posted before noon on Friday.

New Zealand Post said it could not guarantee all envelopes would be postmarked.

Some schools said their parents received their voting papers as late as 2pm last Thursday, giving them less than 24 hours to read the candidates' statements and get their votes in.

As a result, 54 schools were forced to ask for an extension to their board of trustees elections.

Ministry of Education sector enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey has given permission for the extensions.

Among the 54 affected are Queenstown's Shotover School, which hopes to hold its election day on June 20; and Invercargill's Fernworth School, which is still awaiting an approved date.

Ms Casey said there were other affected schools, but they were yet to advise the ministry of the date to which they were seeking an extension.

New Zealand School Trustees Association president Lorraine Kerr said the postal voting system was no longer "conducive to the election process''.

"There was a worry about NZ Post, who have changed the way they do things.

"We will be seeking a review of the legislation.

"Currently, it specifies that it has to be a paper vote. One would think that electronic voting may well be the way to go.'' - Additional reporting NZME


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