Labour Landslide at University of Otago Polling Booths

Preliminary election results have shown that a resurgent Labour Party dominated the vote at polling stations within the University of Otago.

A total of 5,728 votes were cast at the three polling stations on campus, which included Unipol, the Link, and Otago Polytech. Labour romped home with 46.9 percent of the vote, and the Green Party narrowly edged out National on 21.2 percent for second. The Opportunities Party picked up 6.4 percent.

In the candidate vote, David Clark proved his popularity among the student body, coasting to victory with 62.9 percent of the total count, tripling the amount secured by secondplace National Party candidate Michael Woodhouse, who claimed just 19.9 percent.

It was a major change to 2014’s election, when National got 36.7 percent, Labour got 25.2 percent, and the Greens got 25.1 percent.

The student vote for Labour was much in line with the rest of the North Dunedin electorate, but National predictably picked up a higher total and the Greens dropped a few points. Labour won the electorate as a whole with 47.7 percent, National picked up 28.2 percent, with the Greens on 13.2 percent.

Overall, turnout was slightly down on 2014 across the electorate, but far more voters chose to take advantage of the extended early voting available. Advance voting across the electorate was up over 5000 votes, climbing from 8999 last election to 14,034 this year.

Advance voting accounted for by far the most votes cast at university polling locations. Only 10.5 percent of votes in the student area were cast on Election Day.

It’s not totally clear how the total voter turnout for Otago University students compared to 2014, because after the last election the Electoral Commission only showed total advance votes for the electorate. Breakdown based on polling location was only available for Election Day. If students made up the same proportion of advance votes as they did in 2014, it would constitute an increase of almost 2000 voters, although it is likely the actual number could be even higher.

Special votes won’t be counted until October 7th, and are not included in the above numbers. Special votes include anyone who enrolled at the same time as they voted, overseas voters, and anyone voting in a different electorate.

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2017.
Posted 9:29am Saturday 30th September 2017 by Joel MacManus.