This note is not part of the regulations, but is intended to indicate their general effect.
These rules, which come into force on 1 June 2014, amend the Electoral Regulations 1996 (the principal regulations) to implement 5 substantive changes.
First, new regulations 23A and 23B are inserted in the principal regulations to enable the Electoral Commission to make arrangements to receive votes by telephone dictation from special voters in New Zealand for whom it would not be practicable to vote at a polling place without incurring hardship or serious inconvenience and who need assistance in voting because of blindness or another physical disability. Currently, dictation voting is available only under Part 4 of the principal regulations to voters in remote locations outside New Zealand who do not have access to facsimile facilities. In making dictation voting available to this further class of special voters, the Electoral Commission must make arrangements to ensure that votes are accurately recorded on ballot papers and that, so far as possible, the secrecy of the ballot is preserved.
Secondly, new regulation 24A is inserted in the principal regulations to provide for the appointment of scrutineers in advance polling places. An advance polling place is an office maintained by a Returning Officer under regulation 19(2) where special voters may vote before polling day. Such scrutineers are appointed in the same way, and have the same functions and duties, as scrutineers appointed under section 160 of the Electoral Act 1993 for polling places on polling day.
Thirdly, regulation 27 is amended to extend the time frame for the return by post of a special vote exercised in New Zealand. Currently, such votes must be received by a Returning Officer or an Issuing Officer no later than at the close of the poll. Postal votes will be able to be received by a Returning Officer or an Issuing Officer up to noon on the fourth day following polling day in an envelope that is postmarked or date-stamped by a New Zealand Post outlet or agency before polling day. Any postal vote that does not comply with these requirements will be marked as having been received late and disallowed.
Fourthly, the time frames for returning overseas special votes to which Part 3 of the principal regulations applies are also clarified.
Fifthly, the substantive provisions in Part 4 of the principal regulations (Voting from Tokelau, Campbell Island, Raoul Island, Ross Dependency, fishing vessels, and remote locations overseas) are rewritten to make them clearer, particularly in relation to the time frames for the return of votes, and to simplify cross-referencing.