The General Election in New Zealand will be held on Saturday 20 September 2014, but overseas voters can start going to the polls as early as 3 September up until elections day in New Zealand. In order to qualify, you must first ensure that the following criteria apply to you:
- You must be 18 years of age or older
- You are required to have lived in New Zealand for more than one year continuously in your life
- You need to prove that you are a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand (passport identification)
- You need to prove that you have visited New Zealand in the past three years (12 months in the case of permanent residents)
- Have your most recent residential address in New Zealand available for online enrolment purposes
- Exceptions apply for certain citizens such as diplomats, members of the New Zealand Defence Force etc.
You can then enrol in the vote abroad programme online by submitting your details to the Electoral Commission website. You can visit the site to check on your status as well: https://enrol.elections.org.nz/app/enrol/#/
Once your status has been verified you can receive your paper to vote abroad in a number of ways; please note that registering online does not mean that voting papers will automatically be sent to you. You will still have to take one of the following steps to get your voting papers:
- You can download your voting papers on www.elections.org.nz as of 3 September 2014 if you are verified on the published electoral roll.
- You can apply for postal vote at http://www.elections.org.nz/contact-electoral-commission, however, it might take up to three weeks for the letter with your papers to reach your post-box.
- You can pick up voting papers in person at certain overseas posts, including the New Zealand High Commission in London and various Consulate-Generals in the United States of America. For a full list, please go to http://www.elections.org.nz/sites/default/files/plain-page/attachments/list_of_overseas_posts_as_at_18_july_2014.pdf
The voting process itself requires more than just filling out the forms. These have to be returned within certain time limits to count toward the election. The final steps you need to take are one of the following:
- You can scan and upload your voting papers at www.elections.org.nz no later than 20 September
- You can fax your voting papers to the Electoral Commission in New Zealand (+64 4 494 2300) no later than 20 September
- You can post your voting papers to the Electoral Commission (address: Electoral Commission, PO Box 3220, Wellington, New Zealand)
- You can drop your voting papers at an overseas post no later than 19 September (please check against the aforementioned list)