(By) Election Day – Commenting Rules

You may recall that on election day you aren’t allowed to do a number of things. ?And we, as media, aren’t allowed to do some things either. ? ?Let’s refresh our memories:

The Electoral Act prohibits campaigning of any kind on election day.

The prohibition covers any statement that is likely to influence a voter as to which candidate(s) or party a voter should or should not vote for, or which influences people to abstain from voting.? The general intention is to leave voters alone from midnight (12am) until 7pm on election day so they can vote without interference.

This also includes us, as a web site, and as media. ?

Election material does not have to be removed from a website on election day, so long as the material on the site is only made available to people who voluntarily access it. New material must not be posted on the website on election day.? Advertisements promoting the website must not be published on election day.? Where relevant you should ensure public message boards and comment areas on a website cannot be added to on election day to ensure new election-related material is not posted on the website before 7pm.?? The measures you may need to put in place to ensure the rules are not breached will depend on the level of interactivity that is provided to others on a webpage or website.

The same rules apply to the use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.? If you use social media, do not post messages on election day that could breach these rules.?

Anyone who thinks this is a little bit of a chance to have fun risks being benched for a month or so. ?If you like your commenting privileges, then just don’t write about the Northland by-election, the parties or candidates in any way that is likely to breach the Electoral Act.


Section 197 of the Electoral Act provides that it is an offence to interfere with or influence a voter on election day, and a person is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $20,000.

You?are reminded not to :

  • write?any statement (on this blog) referring to the election that could influence voters before 7pm on election day (today)

Thank you for your cooperation.