New Zealand citizens can vote in Cook Islands elections

RAROTONGA, 17 MAY 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – New Zealand citizens who have resided in the Cook Islands for 12 continuous months at any given time of their lives are eligible to vote in the 2018 General Elections.

They join Cook Islanders and permanent residents of the Cook Islands to make up the electoral roll for the June 14 elections.

Chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua said that to vote in parliamentary elections, a person must be qualified to register as an elector in any one of the 24 constituencies in which the person has actually resided continuously for three months or more.

There are exemptions to the rule, however, such as any person absent from the Cook Islands for four years or less for the purpose of education or for medical reasons will still be eligible to vote.

The same applies to any member of a Cook Islands diplomatic or consular mission outside the Cook Islands, as well as the spouse, partner or member of the household of a diplomat.

Tangimetua said the supplementary roll closed this week, but registration and changes to registration are ongoing.

Meanwhile, she said it was compulsory to enroll for the elections but optional to vote.

“However, we encourage people who have enrolled for voting to participate in the elections by casting their votes,” Tangimetua said.

“If you have turned 18 years after the closing of the electoral roll, you can still register.

“Also, if you have changed your residential address, and have been living in the new address for the past three months or more, then you can make changes to your registration in order to qualify to vote in that constituency.”

In the 2014 elections, a total of 10,394 voters were registered. That number is expected to remain approximately the same in this year’s elections.

Qualifications for registration of electors:

(1) A person shall be qualified to be registered as an elector of a constituency if that person:

(a) Is a Cook Islander or a New Zealander citizen, or has the status of a permanent resident of the Cook Islands.

(b) Has at some period actually resided continuously in the Cook Islands for not less than 12 months.

(c) Is 18 years of age or over.

(d) Has been actually resident in the Cook Islands throughout the period of three months immediately preceding that person’s application for enrolment as an elector.

(e) Has not been convicted of any corrupt practice or any offence punishable by death, or imprisonment for a term of one year or more, unless in each case that person has received a free pardon or has undergone the sentence or punishment to which that person was adjudged.

(f) And is not of unsound mind.

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