Official election results are declared 14 days after election day. This timetable is determined by the tasks Returning Officers must complete under the Electoral Act before the Chief Electoral Officer can declare the official results.
Scrutiny of the rolls
Returning Officers must scrutinise the rolls. This involves marking off on a copy of the electoral roll the names of those who voted in the Returning Officer’s electorate. This marked roll becomes the Master Roll and is available for public inspection after the election.
This process identifies any voters who appear to have voted more than once. If someone has voted more than once their ballot papers are excluded from the official count.
Processing of special votes
The processing of special declaration votes takes place after election day.
The declarations of all special voters must be checked to ensure they were eligible to make a special vote. This includes checking if they were enrolled.
Where Returning Officers cannot find a special voter’s name on the electoral roll, their declaration is forwarded to the Registrar of Electors who carries out more extensive checks. The Registrar of Electors advises whether the voter was enrolled.
All special voters are marked off the Master Roll or added to a list of voters not on the roll.
The deadline for special votes to be in the hands of Returning Officers is ten days after election day. Special vote processing cannot, therefore, be completed before this point. Special votes delivered after this must be disallowed.
Valid special votes are admitted to the official count. This includes “Party Vote Only” special votes. These special votes arise where a special voter votes in the wrong electorate. For example, they might be registered in the Rongotai electorate but cast a special vote for the Wellington Central electorate. In this case, the voter’s electorate vote is disallowed (because they were not eligible to vote in the Wellington Central electorate contest) but their party vote will count (because they are registered on an electoral roll).
All ballot papers counted on election night are checked again to ensure the voter’s intention is clear and then recounted. All valid special votes are counted.