Strong turnout in city elections

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Tim Shadbolt leads the voting march to the doors of city council.

TIM Shadbolt will continue his unprecedented reign as Invercargill Mayor for the 22nd consecutive year after a landslide victory in Saturday’s local body election.

There was an 8% rise in voter numbers from the 2013 election.

Discussion around low voter turnout has focused on levels in the main New Zealand cities, with Auckland sitting at about 28%.

There are 38,872 registered voters in Invercargill and almost 55% of those voters had their say.

Electoral official Audrey Harvey and electoral officer Graham Low collect some of the votes.
Electoral official Audrey Harvey and electoral officer Graham Low collect some of the votes.

This could be attributed to the voters’ march, with organisers hoping Invercargill could achieve the highest voter turnout in New Zealand.

Mr Shadbolt led the march from Wachner Place to the ICC building, the brainchild of ICC councillors Rebecca Amundsen and Toni Biddle.

The pair believed the right to vote was something that was fought for in the past but was now taken for granted.

A steady flow of voters poured through the doors as the midday deadline approached.

They were tallied and preliminarily results were announced on Saturday around 2pm.

However, as Graham Sycamore found out, these results aren’t final.

On Monday, ICC electoral officer Graham Low announced Lindsay Abbott had been elected ahead of Graham Sycamore by six votes, after special votes had been counted.

On Saturday, Mr Sycamore had been in the lead by three votes.

“We processed 46 special votes – that was the only change going through,” Low said.

Four new councillors have been elected; Toni Biddle, Alex Crackett, Lesley Soper and Allan Arnold, who join Darren Ludlow, Lloyd Esler, Rebecca Amundsen, Graham Lewis, Karen Arnold, Ian Pottinger, Lindsay Thomas and Lindsay Abbott at the council table.

Mr Low said he finalised 21,378 votes, which was 54.9% of eligible voters in the region.

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