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Election day rules 2020

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 pm, October 16th, 2020 - 50 comments
Categories: election 2020, elections, Politics, The Standard - Tags:

There are some rules around Election day material on a website like ours.

This rule applies to websites and social media

Don’t post anything to social media or a website on election day that could influence voters. Also make sure your profile pictures on social media don’t include anything that could influence voters.

You may only keep existing election or referendum material up on a website or social media if all the following apply.

  • You don’t update it on election day
  • It’s only available to people who choose to access it
  • The site isn’t advertised

These rules apply from start of election day voting at 1 second after midnight until the close of polls at 1900. Obviously we don’t advertise, aren’t planning on updating it apart from comments by readers with severe moderation, and it is rather hard to argue that voluntarily leaving a comment is a forced action.

Obviously this law is kind of ridiculous and moot since I suspect that most of you (including me) have already voted. But the law is often an arse, and politicians are somewhat lazy about updating legislation to reflect reality. The two referendums tomorrow reflect that.

Traditionally, I’d just shutdown the comments on the whole site between 0000 and 1900 when the polls close. But this year we have moderators who aren’t being active on the day – including me in my bastard sysop from hell persona.

I am sure everyone who reads this site knows what that means. Comment all that you like without doing anything that looks like influencing voters in any way – including showing up or not showing up at the polls (the law is a bit ambiguous), how to vote on anything, or even material about the four questions on the ballot. Comments overnight will go into moderation until one of us deals with it. But one we have had our morning coffees or teas, I’ll release that constraint and just watch your self-restraint 🙂

Step over the line and your comment will be defaced with the offending content removed . A ban issued, and offenders will not be commenting on the election results here until a long long time after election day… So moderate yourself so we don’t have to do it for you.

You will find that all comments are off during the election day period apart from this post and Open Mike for election day. This post is about anything to do with election day – traffic, queues, idiots putting up unlawful material on election day, and how many minutes until we unmuffle you. Open Mike is for anything else.

Now because I am putting this post up before midnight. So my advice on Friday if that if you haven’t voted – then get off your lazy arse and do so. If at all possible – vote rationally and with an eye to the future. Voting conservative or for myths of any generation isn’t either – in my opinion. And no-one will be able to gainsay me here until 1900 on Saturday…

50 comments on “Election day rules 2020 ”

  1. lprent 1

    Coffee in hand, I have removed the overnight moderation on this post. Yawn…

  2. lprent 2

    Wow – up to the end of Thursday ! There have been 1,742,960 advance votes.

    If you look at the table of the last available day in previous elections, there is usually a big last day with about a 30-40% increase. And there were 176,229 advance votes on Friday Thursday.

    I suspect that there will be almost enough Friday votes to get over 2 million advance votes. And there are only 3.3. registered voters.

    Looks like we need some new laws about voting behaviour on the day. What I did to this site last night seems a little ridiculous for an election day that has been already been running for more than 14 days.

    I don't think that this will be an isolated covid related event. I think that all elections will be like this here in NZ in the future.

    • Incognito 2.1

      1,976,996 advance votes up to 16 Oct with 233,575 advance votes on the last day.


      • lprent 2.1.1

        wow. there are usually 50+k votes from offshore as well.

        umm 61k in 2017.

        well over 2 million votes out of about 3.5 million registered.

        The new normal is going to be that politicians will have to plan on winning the early vote

        • Incognito

          They could start by culling those inane leaders debates, which are utterly useless in their current form/format, IMO. Tonight, I will also avoid all so-called experts panels. In fact, I don’t watch TV at all so why would I make an exception tonight?

          I reckon the overseas vote will be considerably higher than in 2017. Nothing sharpens the mind as much as not being able to travel back to NZ where Covid is under control.

          • weka

            the leaders' debates did seem particularly out of step with the zeitgeist this year. I didn't watch any, apart from listening to one of JA and JC while cooking dinner. It was really boring. Didn't manage to catch the other leaders, mainly because of the networks being so miserly about how to watch. Fuck 'em. But honestly, put whatever on TV, free access, no registration, make the networks earn their bandwidth.

            I will be watching tonight though. Was going to go with RNZ but Matt pointed out that they're using Dunne as one of the commentators. Will probably go with TV3 (Campbell and Barry), and keep an eye on Māori TV. Plus twitter and TS of course 😛

            • Incognito

              A mix of TS and music for me. I might wander over to some of the other NZ blogs occasionally. The commentariats are generally much better and definitely more entertaining than those self-inflated egos on TV. That said, we seem to have stray pufferfish here today 😉

            • PaddyOT

              Tova O’Brien, Patrick Gower and Duncan Garner doing tv3 coverage.


              • weka

                I was thinking more this.

                • PaddyOT

                  😂 too painful weka.

                  I'm off with the grandkids for a picnic pizza in a paddock then some stargazing . I'd rather wait there for an alien abduction 'til it's all over.

                  • weka

                    Yeah, I spared readers the full graphic in our faces.

                    Your plan sounds great. I'll be online 😬 (not stargazing here tonight, too much cloud, but last night was stunning).

  3. Ad 3

    The advance voting shows that the limits on electioneering during voting must be changed because they have been utterly undermined.

    Taking hoardings and signage down when there has been several weeks of voting shows how silly this is.

    Also all campaign events and advertising has occurred while several weeks of voting has been going on.

    Other than legally, there is clearly nothing sacrosanct about the particular day of voting that one needs to free from taint, and all party political encouragement stripped away.

    • Andre 3.1

      Not having advertising or other partisan activity near polling places here really is a blessed relief compared to voting in the US. Long may that live, and be expanded.

      But yeah, removing stuff the midnight before Election Day seems a bit pointless from the point of view of influencing voters. On the other hand, it may be influential in making sure it actually does get removed, rather than just abandoned for someone else to clean up afterwards.

      • ianmac 3.1.1

        On the other hand, it may be influential in making sure it actually does get removed, rather than just abandoned for someone else to clean up afterwards.

        Exactly Andre. A week later trying to find who is responsible waste of time/money.

  4. Jester 4

    I do find it a strange rule, that all the election billboards must be removed by election day, I guess to avoid influencing people, but the signs have all been up over the past few weeks to influence people.

    It seems especially funny to me now as there has been so much advance voting 1.7m? while the signs have been up. Anyway, I guess the rules are the rules, and well done to all those volunteers who have given up their time both putting up the signs (and repairing them) and now taking them down.

    • bwaghorn 4.1

      The national party have bill boards up around nz all year every year. I'm sure it's pretty legal.

  5. weka 5

    I reckon the limits on election day should stand (or be modified somewhat), not least to spare us all a day of electioneering and MSM frenzy. Everyone wants this election to be finished, let's just have a day of chill and let those of us who didn't advance vote now vote in peace.

    Or ban electioneering (and polls) for the whole voting period 😈 (only half joking).

  6. AB 6

    Although the election day rules have been made illogical by early voting, I'd like to see them stay I'm some form. This is just out of respect for the day and the democratic process. The day has a quiet sacredness to it, and it is good that partisan activity is frowned on, like farting in church.

  7. Anne 7

    But the law is often an arse,…

    I think you mean ass – as in donkey.

    Mind you, the law can be an arse too in which case it should read 'the law is often an ass and an arse…'

    Perhaps we can hold a long conversation discussing the merits or otherwise of the words ass and arse. Me? I'm off to investigate a new orange billboard that has appeared at the school on the opposite side of the road. Something interesting is going on there.

  8. georgecom 8

    We are in the Last Days.

    In a biblical sense that means the imminent return of JC, the Messiah.

    In a non biblical sense that means the removal of another JC and the rise of the Messiah, a certain CL.

  9. ken 9


    Election day rules!

  10. mary_a 10

    An opportunity to air a long held gripe about electioneering.

    Apart from visually polluting the environment, political billboards are so old hat; last century's untidy means of promoting political parties. In this digital age, I consider them so unnecessary, when we can go online and see what political parties are doing to promote their policies.

    Let's keep our landscapes environmentally clean and fresh during election time, please.

    • weka 10.1

      still quite a lot of people that don't spend a lot of time online though.

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        God bless them! The other day, I was trying to plug the HDMI cable into the back of my head and started looking for the pill.

  11. Chris T 11

    I have been trying to get my head round it, but why are there so many rules on election day when in recent times most people seem to be early voting.

    I can see this turning into a quaint memory or the rules being extended earlier.

    • Incognito 11.1

      For about three years we’re bombarded daily and 24/7 with crap trying to influence our thinking and doing and then one day, we have to be protected against any undue influence that might affect our choice. That said, a number of people make up or change their minds when in the actual booth.

      • Chris T 11.1.1


        I just think most people aren't that stupid.

        • Incognito

          It has nothing to do with stupidity, but many are too stupid to realise that they are or have been manipulated in subtle or not so subtle ways. I know I am, which makes me only slightly less stupid but stupid nonetheless.

          • Chris T

            Fair enough

            Then surely it should be from the time people are eligible to vote.

            • Rapunzel

              Do you mean "eligible" to vote or Advanced Voting opens/begins? They're entirely different – some people will only be eligible from today or when they first registered. Those of us who keep our details up to date over the 3 years more or less have continuous "eligibility".

  12. George 12

    Does anyone know where to find the statistic for the turnout on voting day in 2017? I haven't been able to find that one…it's probably in plain sight and I can't see for looking.

  13. weka 13

    Weird that media outlets don't have promos for their election night coverage. I'm struggling to find links. RNZ's front page is devoid of any mention of what they're doing. Same with Shub.

  14. lprent 14

    So the question is if the automatic release of the comment block happens at 1900…

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