No point in online voting if all the candidates are 'muppets' - expert

Low voter turnout at this year's local elections has been blamed on "muppet" candidates leaving their campaigns too late.

There's only one day left to cast votes, with booths closing at midday Saturday.

Andrew Cardow, local government lecturer from Massey University, says candidates should start making noise years in advance.

"The local politicians don't engage with the electorate except for every three years," he told Newshub. "Or when they do engage, they're only engaging with the people they've always engaged with."

The Electoral Commission has estimated turnout nationwide will fall from 42 percent into the 30s.

"[It's time] for central and local goverment to get their heads together and nut out an online voting system," chief returning officer Warwick Lampp told RNZ on Tuesday.

"The impetus is there, the desire is there - people are wanting it - and I think we just need to get our heads together and get it sorted."

But Cardow also says online voting won't help if people still aren't engaged, and the argument to move to e-voting is overhyped.

"It's getting quite hysterical... Let's make online voting easy to vote for the muppets that are standing at the moment, or do we get people engaged, so that when they use their vote, they can vote with some degree of certainty?" 

Auckland Council last week said voter turnout is tracking so low this year, that there'll be fewer than last time. 

"The turnout thus far is lower than last elections - I'm anxiously looking at the numbers, it's the same trend around the country apparently," says Marguerite Delbet, general manager of democracy services at Auckland Council.