What is an electorate?

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Last week we looked at what an election was, and we covered the first part of the election – the party vote. Now, we will look at the second vote, the electorate vote. 

New Zealand is divided into voting groups called electorates. Each electorate has roughly the same amount of people. While each electorate will have around the same number of people, the geographical, or amount of land in the electorate might not be the same. 

For example, an electorate in a rural area might take up a larger area of land than an electorate in a city where people live closer together. However, both electorates will still have about the same number of people. 

When you enrol to vote, you are enrolled in the electorate where you live. Every general election all the eligible people in New Zealand vote for a candidate to represent your electorate in parliament. 

If you are from Maori descent you can choose to vote in the Maori electorate instead of the general electorate, and both are based on about the same population and a set geographic area. This is the electorate vote. 

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