Māori teens final vote denied by Electoral Commission

By Leah Te Whata
  • Northland

Concerns have been raised over early votes, whereby if a voter passes away before Election Day their votes won't be counted. It follows the death of 19-year-old Mehara Tamaki who cast an early vote which won't be counted in this election.

Mehara Tamaki was a member of several youth advocacy groups in Te Tai Tokerau and was a Mana Movement national executive representative.

She died unexpectedly last week, not before casting what would be her first and last vote.

Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira says, “This young lady was a staunch advocate for the presence of a youth voice in council, in iwi governance and in politics and she was a strong part of the Mana Movement.”

But, the Electoral Commission says, that if a person casts an early vote and dies before Election Day, their vote will not be counted and it would be up to Parliament to decide whether changes are needed to the law.

Harawira says, “One of her biggest childhood goals was to vote, she was only 19 when she died and this was her first opportunity to do that.”

A provision that has seen more than a thousand people sign a petition calling for amendments to the Electoral Act 1993.

“That's why we're going to speak to the Electoral Commission, to say here are the youth that you are targeting to engage in the voting process, give this girl what she wanted, the right to vote.” Says Harawira.

Harawira says that this should be a matter of discussion during the Parliamentary select committee post-election review.