How This Cat Named ‘Chairman Meow’ Almost Became A Registered Voter In New Zealand

News & Culture Writer

When Tiana Lyes, a 32-year-old publicist from New Zealand, received the above letter from the Electoral commission, she was baffled. Her cat Chairman Meow, named for the founder of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao, was being asked to enroll in the democratic process which would render him eligible of voting.

The problem, of course, is that cats can’t vote.

Lyes soon figured out the loophole that has caused the error, being that she had recently changed her address with New Zealand Post, which requires you to register all occupants who receive mail. Being that Chairman Meow sometimes does receive mail from his vet, she made sure to register him, as well.

According to Electoral Commission spokeswoman Anastasia Turnbull, Chairman Meow more than likely ended up in the database after Lyes submitted her cat’s name in the mail redirection request.

“We’re notified from NZ Post when there has been a mail redirection – if people check the box saying ‘We need enrolment details updated’.”

She said pets being sent enrolment reminders are uncommon but not totally unheard of. “It’s usually picked up by the registrar but occasionally things like this slip through.

Unfortunately, Chairman Meow won’t be doing any voting regardless, because he’s gone missing! Lyes writes that her beloved “stately wee feline” has been missing for about two weeks now. With any luck, this silly story that has since gone viral will hopefully put her back together with her cat. Godspeed, Chairman Meow!


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