KATRINA CROSBY WRITES – With Election Day upon us, New Zealanders are encouraged to show off their democratic pride with pictures of “I Voted” stickers or selfies taken at the polling stations, encouraging other Kiwis to come out and make their voices heard.

This year, the polling stands looked a little different, with voters including a furrier crowd. The hashtag #dogsatpollingstations lit up social media on September 23, 2017, when the country came together to place their votes for this year’s general election.

As New Zealanders gathered to local churches, community areas and schools, they had to choose between Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Party, Prime Minister Bill English and his National Party, the Greens, or one of the smaller parties.

With all the excitement in the air, it is common for citizens to want to discuss their opinions on the matter. However, because of prior legislation on this topic, voting day is forcefully kept quiet. Kiwis are unable to share who they voted for on social media platforms, including New Zealand journalists who cannot comment on the political atmosphere, aside from where voting takes place. This, in turn, has led many to turn towards Twitter to post some cute pictures of their furry friends.

On the day of the election, multiple people came out, snapped a picture of their dog and then put it on Twitter with the hashtag, “#dogsatpollingstations.” Not only do dogs transcend political bias and animosity, but they can bring people from all over together to join in on the trend.

@Ceekitten posted an image of her dogs with the caption: “We can’t vote but our people did! #dogsatpollingstations.” Additionally, @AmesburyCassie wrote, “#TedtheMalshi is not happy with any party. Where is the policy to ensure him an unlimited pile of treats #dogsatpollingstations #vote17.”

Cat lovers, do not fear, dogs were not the only ones included in the festivities. The hashtag, “#catsnotatpollingstations,” quickly came to catch on as well.

 

Through this, New Zealanders alike show their national pride as they take part in history. Except this time, they are including their extended family members.

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