New Plymouth, NZ uses drive-through voting to increase voter turnout

Officials turned to a number of new tactics, including drive-through voting and free ice cream, to boost turnout in the 2019 local election.

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Drive-thru ballot box brings out 200 voters for New Plymouth district local body elections |
They didn't get fries but there were other benefits to New Plymouth District Council's drive-thru polling station.
Voting as easy as grabbing a burger as New Plymouth introduce voting drive-thru |
A drive-thru voting station in New Plymouth is the latest attempt to get more of the public involved in local body elections.
Snooze, you lose, so get out and vote today, says NPDC | Scoop News
Time is running out for New Plymouth District residents to “Give A And Vote” and have their say about who sits around the next NPDC governance table.
  • New Plymouth District Council added a drive-through voting station allowing citizens to drop off ballots for the 2019 local election
  • Other initiatives included events at parks and a cheeky marketing campaign
  • Drive-through voting station added more than 200 votes to the total count
  • Overall voter turnout was 45 percent, slightly lower than the previous election in 2016
Project Summary
In New Plymouth, on New Zealand’s North Island, the triennial district election determines a number of district roles, including mayor, councillors, health board, and more. These elected officials manage New Plymouth District Council’s annual $155 million budget, and about $3.3 billion in assets.
In other words, they play a significant role in citizens’ daily lives.
But, as is the challenge in many local elections, voter turnout has been low, especially among the district’s younger residents.
To combat this in its 2019 election, the New Plymouth District Council launched a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging people to vote.
Ballot boxes were placed around the district — at libraries, art galleries, supermarkets, and more. These were available from September 20 until voting closed at noon on October 12.
But parking and making the trip into a building to drop off a ballot adds extra steps. To make voting easier for those on the go, the city set up a drive-through voting booth near the civic center. This was available on National Vote Day (October 5) as well as on the final day of voting (October 12). Those who used the drive-through to drop off ballots were treated to free ice cream, aka “Vote Cones.”
Other efforts to boost participation among younger demographics included free ice cream, (aka “Vote Cones"), a Vote Day skateboarding contest at a skatepark (where a vote box was placed), and a $30,000 marketing campaign featuring a 💩 emoji encouraging people to “give a s**t, vote today.”
While the total number of votes ended up slightly down in 2019 (45.3 percent, compared to 2016’s 47.8 percent), the drive-through process was considered a success, contributing more than 200 ballots to the total count.
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Lindsay Pica



Election Information
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