When You Can't Get There on the Day

Sometimes it's hard to get to a voting place on Election Day, but you can still have your say.

Voting in advance

Advance voting makes it easy for anyone who can’t get to a voting place in their electorate on election day. This may be because of work, sickness, infirmity, disability, being away from home or for any other reason.

Information about where, when and how to vote in advance is available closer to election day for any by-election or general election. Information on voting in advance will also be in your EasyVote information pack, which you will receive about a week before election day, or on freephone 0800 36 76 56.

If you’re unable to vote in advance, you can cast a special vote.

Casting a Special Vote

You will need to cast a special vote if you are:

  • unable to get to a voting place or advance voting place in your electorate; or
  • not enrolled by Writ Day or
  • on the unpublished roll.

To receive special voting papers, you will need to complete a special declaration form.

Before election day you can:

  • go into an advance voting place. You will be given a declaration form to complete and your voting papers; or
  • complete and post an application for special declaration voting papers to your Returning Officer. They will send your voting papers and declaration; or
  • apply for voting papers by fax, e-mail or telephone from your Returning Officer.

Your completed voting papers must be received by the Returning Officer or a voting place no later than 7pm on election day.

On election day you can go into a voting place. You will be given a declaration form to complete and your voting papers.

Need help to get your special voting papers?

You can complete the application for special declaration voting papers and ask another person to take it to your Returning Officer, advance voting place or a voting place. They will then bring you back your voting papers and declaration.

Your completed voting papers must be received by the Returning Officer or a voting place no later than 7pm on election day.

Need help to vote?

Someone may need help to vote if they:

  • are blind or vision impaired, or
  • have severe difficulties reading or writing,
  • or have difficulty with the English language

If you need help to read or mark your voting papers, a friend, family member or electoral officials can help. Just ask when you go to vote or freephone 0800 36 76 56 to find out more.

Anyone who doesn’t speak English can take a friend or family member to the advance voting or voting place to help.

View information about enrolling and voting for people with disabilities.

If you are working on election day

You are legally entitled to have time away from work to go and vote on election day.

Section 162 of the Electoral Act 1993 sets out the responsibilities of employers in respect of allowing any employees working on election day time off to vote.

General Employees

Any employee who has not had a reasonable opportunity to vote on election day before starting work, must be allowed to leave her or his work for the purpose of voting no later than 3pm for the remainder of the day. An employer cannot make deductions from the employee’s remuneration for the time taken off.

Employees Carrying Out Any Essential Work or Service

Any employee who is required to work after 3pm for the purpose of carrying on any essential work or service must be allowed to leave her or his work for a reasonable time earlier in the day for the purpose of voting. An employer cannot make deductions from the employee’s remuneration in respect of the time taken off, provided it does not exceed 2 hours.

Crew of Ships

A master of a ship in port in New Zealand shall, at their request, allow any crew members who are registered or qualified electors of the electoral district the ship is located within, to go ashore to vote. 

There are various offences set out in section 162 relating to employers who do not comply with their responsibilities. The maximum fine is $1,000.

Last updated: 20 October 2014