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Election day will be 17 October

Aug 17, 2020 | Media release

The Electoral Commission is adjusting its plans to deliver the 2020 General Election and referendums on Saturday 17 October.

The Prime Minister has announced today that election day has been moved from 19 September to 17 October 2020.

“Confirmation of the date provides certainty to the public about when the election will be held,” says Alicia Wright, Chief Electoral Officer. “We have been considering alternative election dates and are confident we can revise our existing arrangements for 17 October.”

Alicia Wright says the Commission’s next steps will be to confirm voting places and contact more than 25,000 people who have put up their hands to work at the election.

“These are challenging times for everyone, but we will have measures in place so that people can vote in person at a voting place this October.”

COVID-19 measures

The Electoral Commission has always planned to run the election as if New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.  Health measures that will be in place include contact tracing, hand sanitiser and physical distancing in voting places, and providing protective gear for staff if needed.  Planning is also underway to have more voting places and longer voting times to reduce queues.

Voting services can be delivered to small clusters of voters under higher local Alert Levels through takeaway voting where voting papers are delivered and picked up.

Other ways of voting are available for people who cannot go to a voting place, for example for reasons of illness or disability.  People can apply for postal voting by calling 0800 36 76 56.

New election timetable

  • 13 September: writ day – the Governor General issues the writ for the election to be held
  • 17 September noon: the deadline for parties to submit bulk candidate nominations and party lists to the Electoral Commission
  • 18 September noon: the deadline for individual electorate candidate nominations to returning officers
  • 30 September: overseas voting begins
  • 3 October: advance voting begins
  • 17 October: election day – preliminary results released progressively from 7pm
  • 30 October: preliminary referendum results released 
  • 6 November: official results declared for the General Election and referendums

Media contact: Clare Pasley 027 551 7845.

Media advisory – Alicia Wright will be available for further comment at a media conference at midday today at the Electoral Commission’s National Office, Level 4, 32-42 Manners Street.  Please RSVP to

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