Election recounts and petitions

For a limited time after a general election, certain people can apply to challenge official election results through recounts or election petitions.

Applying for a recount of the electorate vote

If you’re an electorate candidate, you can apply to a District Court Judge for a recount of the electorate vote in the electorate you contested.

You must:

  • apply within 3 working days of us declaring the official results
  • include a deposit of $1,000 with your application.

The judge must:

  • start the recount within 3 working days of getting your application
  • tell the affected candidates when and where the recount will take place.

Note: A recount of the electorate vote automatically takes place if the official count results in a tie between candidates in an electorate.

Applying for a recount of the party vote

Only party secretaries can apply for a recount of the party vote.

For an electorate

If you’re a party secretary applying for a recount of party votes in an electorate, you must:

  • apply to a District Court Judge within 3 working days of us declaring the official results
  • include a deposit of $1,500 with the application.

The judge must:

  • start the recount within 3 working days of getting the application
  • tell the affected parties when and where the recount will take place.

For every electorate

If you’re a party secretary applying for a recount of party votes in every electorate, you must:

  • apply to the Chief District Court Judge within 3 working days us declaring the official results
  • include a deposit of $90,000 with the application.

The judge must:

  • start the recount within 3 working days of getting the application
  • tell the affected parties when and where the recount will take place.

Getting the result of a recount

If the judge finds the official count was wrong, they’ll tell us to amend the final result declaration.

Bringing an election petition

An election petition is the only way to challenge the election of an electorate candidate or how party list seats were allocated. A petition happens after a recount.

Challenging the election of an electorate candidate

To bring an election petition before the High Court, you must be eligible to vote in the electorate or a candidate who contested the electorate vote. Your petition must come before the High Court within 28 days of us declaring the official election results.

Three High Court Judges will hear the petition.

Challenging the election of list candidates

List candidates are elected using a formula that we apply after we’ve declared the results of any electorate recounts.

How are MPs elected?

Only the secretary of a party that contested the party vote can bring a petition to review how the list seats were allocated.

The petition must come before the Court of Appeal within 28 days of us declaring the elected list candidates.