How candidates can encourage voting participation

This section describes the different voting services available in New Zealand and from overseas during the advance voting period and on election day.

Resources available

Candidates play an important role in engaging with electors to encourage them to take part in elections. The Electoral Commission can provide user-friendly resources for candidates to use as part of their canvassing activities.

We produce a range of resources in different languages that include information about the ways that voters can cast a vote, as well as print and video resources in accessible formats, Plain English, New Zealand Sign Language, and for those with learning impairments.

Find out more about our resources

EasyVote pack for voters

At the beginning of the advance voting period each enrolled voter will receive a personal information pack containing:

  • an EasyVote card (or slip if enrolled late) to take to the voting place
  • details of the voting places and advance voting places
  • names of candidates for their electorate, and
  • the contact details of the local Returning Officer.

It will be helpful if you encourage your supporters to use the EasyVote card or slip because it will save them time.

Ways to vote

A person who can be marked off the printed roll in a voting place will be issued with an ordinary ballot paper.

Anyone who cannot be found on the printed roll and individuals who cast their vote away from a voting place are required to cast a special vote. Special voting papers include a declaration form, which is completed and signed by the voter. There are a number of reasons why a person may not be found on the printed roll – for example, if the person has enrolled after writ day, is enrolled in a different electorate, is on the unpublished roll, or is not enrolled.

Voters who need help to read or mark their voting papers can be assisted by a friend, family member or electoral official in the voting place.

Advance voting

Advance voting starts 14 days before election day.

A limited service for advance voters leaving New Zealand before advance voting starts will be available from the Returning Officer from two and a half weeks before election day.

Voters on the printed roll at the advance voting place do not have to make any written declaration to cast an advance vote.

If the voter is not enrolled they can complete an enrolment form at the advance voting place or enrol online at vote.nz.

Information about advance voting places are available at vote.nz

Election day voting

Voters can vote at a voting place from 9am to 7pm on election day. The doors close at 7pm - anyone inside the voting place at 7pm is allowed to complete their vote.

If the voter is not enrolled they can complete an enrolment form at the voting place or enrol online at vote.nz.

Voters do not have to be enrolled in the electorate to vote at a voting place in the electorate. A voter enrolled in any electorate can vote at any voting place anywhere in the country.

Casting a special vote at a voting place or advance voting place

Voters will need to cast a special vote if they are:

  • not on the printed roll used to issue ordinary votes at a voting place
  • not enrolled by writ day, or
  • on the unpublished roll.

At the advance voting place or voting place these voters will be given a declaration form to complete with their voting papers.

Dictation voting

A telephone dictation voting service is available for blind and vision-impaired voters and voters who have a physical disability that prevents them from marking the voting paper independently and in secret. Voters can register with the Commission to use the service from Monday 14 September to Friday 9 October. Voters who have registered for this service can vote from Wednesday 30 September. This service closes at 7 pm on election day, Saturday 17 October.

More information about this service is available at vote.nz.

Prisoner voting

During the 12 days before the election, mobile voting teams will attend prisons and set up voting facilities for prisoners who are eligible to vote. Prisoners serving a sentence of imprisonment of 3 years or more are not eligible, but voting services are provided for remand prisoners and those with sentences with less than 3 years. Returning Officers liaise with local Probation Services to provide voting services for people on home detention and other community-based sentences.

Teams may also visit any police stations in the electorate shortly after midday on election day, to enable registered electors who are being held in police cells to vote.

Overseas voting

Overseas voters can obtain their voting papers by either:

  • downloading them from the Commission’s website
  • applying to the Commission to have their voting papers posted to them, or
  • voting in person at a designated overseas post.

Overseas voters can return their voting papers by:

  • uploading their voting papers to a secure server on the Commission’s website
  • faxing their voting papers to the Commission
  • posting their voting papers to the Commission, or
  • posting or hand delivering their voting papers to the nearest designated overseas post.

Faxed overseas votes and votes returned using the overseas upload need to be received by the Commission before 7pm on election day. Postal votes need to be postmarked in another country before or on Friday 16 October and received by the Commission or a Returning Officer before noon on the Tuesday 10 days after the election.

Information about voting at an overseas post is available at vote.nz.

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