Early voting for the 2017 General Elections opens today, and there's a vast increase in the number of advanced voting places available.
There are 485 places around the country where early votes can be cast, a large jump from 295 in 2014. EasyVote packs will start arriving in the mail today.
Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright says people are increasingly choosing to cast their votes before Election Day, and she expects that as many as fifty percent of eligible voters will cast their ballot early this year, in contrast with the thirty percent who did so at the last election in 2014.
Wright explains that a new feature this year includes being able to register at places hosting early voting, and make their picks right away.
People will also be able to vote at places other than the traditional church or town hall this year, with malls and supermarkets among the new polling places.
Shopping malls across the country are also being tested out, with several hosting a pilot of advanced voting places, as are seven supermarkets throughout Auckland.
"It's about thinking about where people are, and making sure we're there to help them vote," she said.