One third of 18-24 year old eligible voters not enrolled

By Bronson Perich

The Electoral Commission says young voters aren’t enrolling, because they don’t know how. Mona Pauline Mangakahia, senior project manager for the commission explains why.

Mangakahia says research has shown that rangatahi voter behaviour is a little bit about the process.

She says they don’t know"how to enrol, where to enrol, how old you need to be to enrol.”

As a result, she says about half of the eligible voters under the age of 30 didn’t vote. That said, in 2017 more voters under 30 cast their ballots than in 2014.

Encouraging rangatahi to enrol

D'angelo Martin with Master Voter 'Aunty Kim' - Video / YouTube

To encourage younger voters to enrol, the Electoral Commission has hired D’angelo Martin, aka Tūturu Māori, to feature on their ad campaigns.

An unusual trend is that electorates with universities have low youth enrollment numbers.

"The electorates that universities are located in, have some of our lower youth enrollment rates," Mangakahia says.

A key reason for that she says is students can either enrol in their home electorate or the electorate where their university is.

Why bother?

Mangakahia says increasing the rate of youth voting will eventually increase the rate of voting overall.

"If you act on your civic right, you're more likely to continue to do that," Mangakahia says.

The Electoral Commission focuses on increasing youth voting as older voters are already dedicated to doing so.