The Department of Internal Affairs

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Local Government in New Zealand - Local Councils


About your 2019 local elections

Elections of members of local authorities are held once every three years, on the second Saturday in October. The next elections will be held on 12 October 2019. Some local polls may also be held in conjunction with elections. By-elections are held when a vacancy occurs.

The triennial elections of regional councils, city and district councils, community boards and local boards are held at the same time as elections for district health boards and licensing trusts. Your council's Election Statistics are found under its profile.

Key dates for local authority elections 2019.

1 July 2019 Electoral Commission enrolment campaign starts.
19 July 2019 Nominations open for candidates. Nominations have to be sent to the electoral officer for the council, district health board or licensing trust. Rolls open for inspection at council offices and other sites locally.
16 August 2019 Nominations close at 12 noon. Rolls close. After this date, anyone who is entitled to vote and who is not enrolled as an elector, or whose details are incorrectly recorded on the roll, will have to cast a ‘special vote’.
21 August 2019 Election date and candidates’ names publicised by electoral officers.
20-25 September 2019 Voting documents delivered to households. Electors can post the documents back to electoral officers as soon as they have voted.
12 October 2019 Polling day — The voting documents must be at the council before voting closes at 12 noon. Preliminary results (i.e. once all ‘ordinary’ votes are counted) will be available as soon as possible afterwards.
17-23 October 2019 (or as soon as practicable) Official results (including all valid ordinary and special votes) declared.

How do electors find information about candidates?

Candidates will generally promote themselves from the time their nominations are confirmed until the end of the election period. Often they will use newspaper or radio advertising, billboards and leaflets delivered to mail boxes. Some may use the internet - a new website. Candidates will also attend public meetings where they can present their views and answer questions from electors. The local news media will normally run stories about candidates and their campaigns during the elections.

Candidates may also provide a ‘candidate profile statement’ to the electoral officer with their nomination, which the electoral officer has to include with the voting documents posted to electors. This information might also be on the local council’s website.

How can electors vote if they are not on the roll?

Electors have until mid-August of the election year to get on the roll before the rolls close for the local elections. After that date, if an eligible elector is not on the roll, or their roll details are wrong, they may cast a special vote. If their name is not on the roll they must apply to enrol before voting. They may also cast a special vote if their voting papers are lost or damaged, or if they can satisfy the electoral officer that it would be too difficult to cast an ordinary vote.

Anyone wanting to cast a special vote must contact the electoral officer by the day before polling day at the latest.

When will election results be available?

Votes are processed, but not counted, as they come in. The announcement of the preliminary results will depend on the flow of the returned voting documents to electoral officers. Electoral officers have the discretion to announce progress results (i.e. votes counted to date), and some do so very soon after midday on polling day for FPP. This tends to happen more in larger areas, where there are many votes to count. The preliminary results (i.e. the count of all ordinary votes, and validated special votes) for smaller councils using FPP might be available within a few hours of the close of voting on polling day.

Under FPP, candidates' vote tallies increase progressively as more and more votes are counted. It is possible to predict whether the uncounted votes could alter the outcome after a progress result, based on the margins between the candidates and how many votes there are left to count.

However, the nature of STV voting means that a very few votes can alter the result of an election by changing the order in which candidates are excluded and their votes transferred. As a result, it is less clear how a relatively small number of votes will affect the final result under STV. This is why progress results are generally not made in STV elections.

The Society of Local Government Managers' electoral working party has recommended that electoral officers release preliminary results (as distinct from progress results) for STV elections as soon as practicable. If electoral officers cannot release a preliminary result by midday on the Sunday after polling day, because they have not received all the votes to process and put through the calculator for an announcement by that time, then they should consider releasing progress results sometime after midday on Sunday.

For more information on STV voting see

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