Every three years, we as the residents of the city of Hamilton are entitled to vote and elect our representatives for Hamilton City Council. There are a lot of misnomers around this process and election on election, the number of participating voters is in decline.

There is no magic reason for this decline, nor does anyone have a definitive answer on how to address it, but there are plenty of theories – that people have no confidence in the candidates, that some are too lazy to vote, that some don’t realise that they’re eligible to vote. I’m going to try and dispel a few myths around who can vote – and what you can vote for.

Hamilton city is split into two halves (technically referred to as wards) – We have the East Ward and the West Ward. Council is made up of 12 councillors – 6 from each ward. The mayor is elected city-wide so both east and west ward voters get to cast a vote for the mayor.

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and is a resident of Hamilton City* is able to cast a vote in this election. You need to be a registered voter – enrolling to vote is free and there are a myriad of ways to enrol – visit www.vote.nz to sort that out… It’s painless and lets you exercise your democratic right.

The elections themselves are run by a postal vote. Sometime after September 20th all registered voters will receive a voting pack – you simply follow the instructions, choose your preferred candidate for your six councillors and mayor, pop it back in the post (before October 12th) and that’s it – job done!

*Some non residents who own property in Hamilton are also eligible to vote in some cases.