23 Sep 2017

Advance voters smash previous record

2:40 pm on 23 September 2017

Advance voters have set a new record, with more than 1.2 million people casting their vote ahead of official polling day.

After a seven-week campaign, voting is underway in the 2017 general election. Polling booths opened at 9am across the country and will stay open till 7pm tonight.

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Polling booths are open until 7pm today. Photo: @SandyMillar

But tens of thousands of people have already cast their vote, with advance polling open a fortnight ahead of Election Day.

This afternoon, the Electoral Commission released its final advance vote tally, showing 1.24m people voted ahead of time.

A quarter of a million people - 253,473, to be precise - voted yesterday, the last day of advance polling, smashing the one-day record set just the day before.

Prior to this election, the highest number of advance votes cast in an election was the 2014 general election, when 718,000 people chose to go to the polls early.

Today, people started trickling into polling places soon after they opened, with 9am to 11am predicted by the Electoral Commission to be the busiest time.

Fair weather is forecast for most places.

Those needing information about where to go to cast their vote can find out online, at elections.org.nz, or by phoning 0800 36 76 56.

They can get a list of candidates the same way.

The latest figures show just over 3.2 million people were enrolled to vote at 6pm last night - 91 percent of eligible voters. That was slightly down on last election, when 92.6 percent of eligible people were enrolled.

However, people were still enrolling to vote late yesterday afternoon and yesterday's count may not have included all last-minute enrolments.

Despite concerted efforts to increase enrolments among younger people - which have been lower than other age groups - the figures released yesterday showed enrolments among 18 to 24-year-olds and 25 to 29-year-olds were similar to or lower than 2014 numbers.

Less than 70 percent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 had enrolled according to the figures released yesterday.

Last election, 72 percent of that age group had enrolled, even without taking late enrolments into account.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has received complaints about election signs still being up today.

Political parties had to remove all advertising for the election by midnight last night.

The commission said it had received a few complaints and parties involved had been contacted to take them down.