Safety at the election
A range of measures will be put in place to help make it safe for voters and election workers to take part in the 2020 General Election and referendums.
The Electoral Commission is continuing to work towards delivering the election and two referendums on 19 September, which is the date set by the Prime Minister in January. Changes are being made to the way the election will be run to meet the public health requirements for COVID-19.
“Safety measures at voting places will be based on advice from the Ministry of Health,” says Alicia Wright, Chief Electoral Officer. “They include queue management and physical distancing, as well as the use of hand sanitiser and protective gear.”
Advance voting will start two days earlier than planned on Saturday 5 September to spread voting over a longer period and reduce congestion in voting places. The number of advance voting places will be increased, especially on the weekend before election day. Where possible, larger venues will be used to give voters more space.
“Some people will not be able to go to a voting place, but they will still be able to vote,” says Alicia Wright.
Voters who are older or have a medical condition that places them at high risk from COVID-19 can choose to vote at a voting place or register for postal voting and have their voting papers sent to them in the mail.
“Voting services can also be delivered to small clusters of voters who are in isolation during the voting period using takeaway voting, which is when voting papers are delivered and picked up,” says Alicia Wright.
Alicia Wright says it is important for people to enrol early and keep their details up to date so that they receive information about the election and referendums in the mail including an EasyVote card which makes voting faster.
For more information on COVID-19 and the election, go to vote.nz/covid19.