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Guidance To The Media - Election Day


Tuesday 4 November 2008

Chief Electoral Office
Ministry of Justice


Information about campaigning and media activity on Election Day is set out below.

Campaigning on Election Day is a Criminal Offence

The Electoral Act prohibits campaigning of any kind on Election Day. The general intention of the Electoral Act is to leave voters alone from midnight until 7.00pm on Election Day so they can vote without interference.

It is a criminal offence to distribute or broadcast any statement that is likely to influence a voter as to the candidate or party the voter should or shouldn't vote for, or which influences people to abstain from voting.

On Election Day, candidates, political parties and others must:

• Cover up or take down all election signs.
• Cover up or place away from public view vehicles advertising parties or candidates (this includes bumper stickers).
• Not distribute any campaign material
• Not distribute or display anything showing political party or candidate names.
• Not post any new material on websites. Existing website material does not have to be removed, as long as the website is not proactively promoted to voters.
• Not display clothing (such as T-shirts) promoting a party or candidate.

Parties, party supporters or candidates may

• Wear party lapel badges (including rosettes) in public bearing the party's name, emblem, slogan or logo (but not the candidate's name).
• Display streamers, rosettes, ribbons and similar items in party colours on people or vehicles.
• Contact voters to offer help to get to a polling place They must not say or do anything that influences voters as to the party or candidate they should or should not vote for.
• Fixed signs exhibited before polling day on party headquarters including party names, slogans or logos that do not relate specifically to the election campaign can stay.


• Scrutineers may be appointed by candidates, or in some cases parties, to observe in polling places and during the preliminary count. Scrutineers may wear party lapel badges. They must not communicate with voters. When the electoral official reads out from the electoral roll the line and page number of the voter the scrutineer is entitled to record this.

Media Activity on Election Day

All election advertising and other statements, by anybody including the media, which could influence voters cannot be published or broadcast on Election Day. For this purpose newspapers published after 6pm on the day before Election Day are treated as being published on Election Day.

• No opinion polling of voters can be carried out on Election Day.

Photo/filming opportunities on Election Day

On Election Day, media organisations can take photos or film at a polling place as long as:
• The Returning Officer approves. Media must contact the Chief Electoral Office before Election Day to arrange this.
• No photographs or footage is taken of voters actually completing their ballot papers or showing how a person voted. Media cannot go behind the voting screens.
• Photographers or camera crews do not disrupt voters from voting or officials from their duties.
• No undue delays are caused to voters.
• No interviews are conducted in or near the polling place.

Election Results

Preliminary Results on Election Night

• Preliminary election results will be available progressively, in real time from www.electionresults.govt.nz.
• This website will show the overall party votes and the electorate by electorate positions.
• The targets for results are:
• 8.30pm - advance votes
• 10.00pm - 50% of polling places
• 11.30pm - 100% of polling places.
These are targets, not guarantees.

• Results by polling place will be available in excel format from www.electionresults.govt.nz from 1.30am on Sunday 9 November once they have been confirmed.

Official Results

• The official election results for the whole country will be released once the Chief Electoral Office has completed all its checks at 2pm Saturday 22 November. They will be published on www.electionresults.govt.nz.


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