Rules around advance voting clarified

The strict rules prohibiting the display of signs and the holding of demonstrations or processions on election day do not apply during the advance voting period.

Advance voting for the September 20 election started on Wednesday and political activists were out in force ensuring their party banners were on display.

A reader of the Otago Daily Times asked whether it was allowed for any political party to hand out leaflets and have their candidate and political staff hanging around the voting booth as appeared to happen at the University of Otago on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission confirmed the rules applying to election day did not apply during the advance voting period.

However, it was still an offence to interfere with an elector either in the voting place or on the way there with the intention of influencing the voter or advising an elector how they should vote.

This was not limited to election day and so applied to voters on their way to an advance polling booth.

''Any campaigning must not involve physically interfering with voters as they approach advance voting. Parties and candidates are asked to exercise restraint in the vicinity of advance polling to avoid complaints,'' the spokeswoman said.