More voting places part of COVID-19 response
The Electoral Commission says voters should feel comfortable voting in person at the 2020 General Election and referendums with the COVID-19 processes in place at voting places.
There will be more voting places open during voting and larger venues will be used to minimise queues and allow room for physical distancing.
“Enrol early, vote early and vote close to home. It will help keep queues down and get people in and out of voting places quickly and safely,” says Alicia Wright, Chief Electoral Officer.
About 750 advance voting places will open when voting starts on Saturday 5 September, which is 50% more than in 2017, and this will double to 1,500 voting places on the weekend before election day (12-13 September). On election day itself, Saturday 19 September, there will be about 2,500 voting places.
In 2017, there were 485 advance voting places and 2,378 election day voting places.
Alicia Wright says the Commission is finalising voting place locations and will use larger venues such as school and community halls and marae where possible.
“We will have some voting places in shopping malls, but the need to allow room for physical distancing means we will not be in as many malls as planned, and we won’t be able to use supermarkets as voting places.
“As well as having more voting places, there will be health measures in place including the use of hand sanitiser on the way in and out of voting places. We’re confident that all voters who usually vote at a voting place will be able to do so safely this year,” says Alicia Wright.
Options for people who can’t go to a voting place
Other ways of voting will be available to those who can’t go to a voting place.
“As in previous elections, there will be voting services for people who can’t vote in person, for example for reasons of age, illness or disability,” says Alicia Wright.
People who are unable to go to a voting place can apply for postal voting from Friday 31 July by calling 0800 36 76 56. Applications for postal voting close on 21 August, but people can still call the 0800 number after that date to make other arrangements if they can’t go to a voting place.
Arrangements are also being made for people in rest homes and hospitals, and people in managed isolation or quarantine facilities, to vote in the election and referendums.