18 Sep 2017

Māori voters misled at polling booths in electorate confusion

From Morning Report, 7:48 am on 18 September 2017

Unenrolled voters are reporting being turned away from advance voting booths - or having trouble casting votes for the Māori electorates.

Karena Karauria is one who struck problems. She tried to enrol and vote in Ikaroa-Raawhiti, from a booth in Palmerston North. 

As a student, who is temporarily living in the Waikato, but wants to vote in her tribal rohe, Ms Karauria called the Electoral Commission twice before she went to the booth to check the rules.

The staff at the advance booth eventually tried to enrol her in Hauraki-Waikato, despite that being a completely different electorate. 

Ms Karauria says she was so hōhā, she left without voting, although she's planning to try her luck at another booth this week.

Her aunt, Veronica Tawhai, lectures in Māori politics at Massey University. She tells Susie Ferguson Māori voters are going on and being given forms to vote on the general roll. 

"We've had another report from a past student of mine, who said that he waited in a long line and was really excited to be casting an early vote... They couldn't find him [on the roll] for one, he said to them again: 'Are you sure you sure you're checking the Māori roll?'

"What he's just reported is that the person said to him: 'Oh the Māori roll. You're going to have to go back in line and wait, and a Māori person can help you find your name on that roll.' That is absolutely outrageous," she says.