Early voting in Cook Islands

Cook Islands election. Photo: Parliament of the Cook Islands

With nine days left until the General Election on Monday, 1 August, 174 people have already exercised their right to vote, says Cook Islands chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua.

Tangimetua said a lot of the votes came from people leaving the Cook Islands to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s a good turnout for the vote in advance,” she said. “In the past, in the first two weeks, you don’t really get a turnout like this.”

The Electoral Office had also issued 277 postal votes and 27 postal votes had been received as of yesterday.

Tangimetua said the number of postal votes issued was also a high number. Most were sent to Auckland for people on medical referrals or to students. Other postal votes went to Australia, with one being sent out to the United States and one to French Polynesia.

The election budget is $300,000 and Tangimetua said it was being used fast.

“We’ve already incurred expenses like the public notices that went in the paper, so we’ve tackled all those accounts. The major cost here will be transportation.

“We’re still trying to secure transport to Palmerston, Suwarrow, Nassau.

“There’s no airports over there so we will have to rely on boats.”

Tangimetua said police patrol boat Te Kukupa II which arrived yesterday might be used during the election because Taio Shipping was unable to transport the voting papers.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Meanwhile, Tangimetua said there was no voter education programme this year. She said the Cook Islands had never conducted a voter education programme and nobody had asked for it.

However, she said it would be a good thing.

“I recall when we were still in school, we got involved in the whole election side of things.”