In this article
- When can we expect to see the election results?
- When will we know the results of the referendums?
- How does the count work?
- Why does it take so long to come up with the final results?
- How are special votes counted?
- Why aren’t referendum results announced on the night?
- How are advance votes counted?
When can we expect to see the election results?
Preliminary results are released progressively from 7pm on election night at electionresults.govt.nz.
The official results are declared 20 days after voting closes. This year, final election results will be declared on 6 November, along with the official results for the referendums.
When will we know the results of the referendums?
Preliminary results of the referendums will be released on Friday 30 October and the final count will be released with the official election results on Friday 6 November. The preliminary referendum results will be based on the count of ordinary votes and the final referendum results will include special votes.
The reason that referendum results are not counted on election night is that legislation requires that priority is given to the counting of Parliamentary election results.
How does the count work?
On the night, the manager of each voting place opens the boxes and counts the party votes and the electorate votes. These preliminary results are announced progressively on the night.
The official count starts the day after election day and involves multiple checks to ensure that each eligible voter voted only once, that each voter’s intentions are clear, and that we’ve counted each vote correctly.
To begin the official count, we create a master roll which lists the names of people who voted in each electorate, to identify any voters who may have voted more than once. If someone has voted more than once, we don’t include their voting papers in the official count.
Next, we process and check special votes.
Special votes must be counted in the electorate they were cast for. That’s why the deadline for special votes is 10 days after election day – it gives us time to get special votes back to the right electorate for counting.
We check every special vote to make sure each person is enrolled. When we’ve confirmed that the voter is enrolled and the special vote declaration has been filled out correctly, we mark the voter’s name off the master roll and add the vote to the official count.
If a voter casts a vote for an electorate they’re not eligible to vote in, their electorate vote doesn’t count. However, we count their party vote and record it as ‘Party Vote Only’.
Once that has happened, we recheck and recount every voting paper counted during election day to make sure that we’ve counted each vote correctly.
When the official count is final, the Chief Electoral Officer declares the official election results and the official referendum results by publishing a notice in the official government newspaper, the New Zealand Gazette and posting the results on electionresults.govt.nz.
Why does it take so long to come up with the final results?
The 20 day timeframe for declaring the official results allows for all advance and election day votes to be counted a second time, for the electoral rolls to be checked to pick up any cases of people voting more than once, and for the processing of special votes.
How are special votes counted?
Votes must be counted in the electorate they were cast for, which is why the deadline for special votes is generally 10 days after election day. This gives us time to get special votes to the right place for processing.
When special votes are processed, we check each one to make sure the voter is enrolled.
If a special voter’s name isn’t on the electoral roll, the Registrar of Electors carries out more extensive checks. The Registrar then says whether the voter is enrolled.
Once we’ve confirmed a special vote declaration has been filled out correctly, we mark the voter’s name off the master roll add their vote to the official count.
It’s important that all these steps are followed to make sure that the results are accurate.
Why aren’t referendum results announced on the night?
We’re guided by the Referendums Framework Act which states that the referendum votes will not be counted on election night, and instead will be counted after election day, during the official count.
We know that people will be very interested in the outcome of the referendums, so rather than wait until the release of the official results on 6 November, we will release preliminary referendum results a week earlier on 30 October once the ordinary referendum votes are counted.
How are advance votes counted?
We can do the preliminary count of advance votes from 9am on election day, under tight security so that results are kept confidential until voting closes at 7pm. We follow the same rules as we do with votes cast on election day.
The preliminary results of advance votes are released from 7pm on election night.
Advance votes are then included in the official count, which starts the day after election day.