How parties 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. We’ll update this information when key dates for the 2020 General Election are announced.


Resources available

Political parties 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 parties 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. Information about printing or ordering these resources is available on our website or by contacting the Commission. Go to and click the “Resources & Learning” button, e-mail:, or phone the Commission (04) 495 0030.

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
  • party lists for those parties contesting the party vote
  • 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printed roll – for example, if the person has enrolled after writ day, is enrolled in a different electorate, is on the unpublished roll, or is not enrolled.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 on 12 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 he or she can complete an enrolment form either at the advance voting place or by enrolling online, at a PostShop or at the Registrar of Electors. Provided the voter’s application for enrolment is received by the Registrar of Electors or the Commission before election day their vote can be counted.

Advance voting services can also be provided in mobile facilities – for example, a caravan that moves from one location to another. Mobile services are most often used in large rural electorates where voting services need to be provided for widely dispersed populations.

Information about advance voting places and mobile voting services is available after nomination day at

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.

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. Voters are not able to enrol on election day.

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.

Hospitals and rest homes

Vote issuing teams visit hospitals and rest homes to issue votes to patients and residents in the 12 days before the election. Issuing teams are accompanied by a Justice of the Peace.

Voting places are located in large hospitals on election day for staff, visitors and mobile patients. Voting teams also visit large hospitals on election day.

Takeaway and postal voting

A voter who is unable to get to a voting place can arrange for special voting papers to be picked up or posted to them.

Applications should be made by the voter:

  • in writing - voters generally complete the application for special declaration voting papers contained in the Unable to get to a voting place leaflet, or
  • by fax, email or telephone to the Returning Officer.

A family member or friend, party agent or any other person can be appointed to pick up takeaway voting papers for a voter. Special voting papers can be collected from voting places or from the Returning Officer’s headquarters during opening hours in the voting period.

An application for special declaration voting papers made by post, fax or email should be sent to the Returning Officer’s electorate headquarters. The Returning Officer’s contact details for the general election are published on

Where the voter requests postal voting papers, the voter should factor in sufficient time for the voting papers to be received and returned.

Completed voting papers must be received by the Returning Officer or a voting place no later than 7pm on election day. Votes returned by post must be postmarked before election day and received by the Commission or a Returning Officer before noon on the Wednesday after election day.

A candidate may nominate people to be authorised by the Returning Officer as witnesses of special voting declarations to assist people who need to vote from home (authorised witnesses).

Read more about special vote witnesses

Dictation voting

A phone 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 have to register with the Commission to use the service at least a week before election day. More information about this service is available at in the run up to the general election.

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 are not eligible, but voting services are provided for remand prisoners. 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 the second to last day before the election 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 in the run up to the general election.