What happens if a candidate dies now that early voting has begun?

While early votes are convenient for people living increasingly busy lives, they do raise some questions about how ...
MATTHEW TSO/STUFF

While early votes are convenient for people living increasingly busy lives, they do raise some questions about how things work if the unlikely happens.

Early voting is more popular than ever this election, but it raises some interesting questions - what happens to your vote if a candidate dies or, even worse, you do?

Data from the Electoral Commission shows nearly 90,000 New Zealanders hit the polling booths in the first two days of early voting, well ahead of early voter rates in previous years.

The early voting period has been reduced from 15 to 12 days this time around, which makes early voter rate comparisons between years difficult.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is one of the nearly 90,000 New Zealanders who have cast early votes in this years general ...
Chris McKeen/Stuff

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is one of the nearly 90,000 New Zealanders who have cast early votes in this years general election.

With 10 days until the 2014 election, just over 70,000 people had voted and in 2011 that number was just over 27,000. So by exceeding 90,000 at the same point this year, New Zealanders seem to be more eager than ever to cast their vote early.

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While early votes are convenient for people living increasingly busy lives, they do raise some questions about how things work if the unlikely happens.

Luckily, this guide is here to walk you through the consequences if life throws a curveball at one of the candidates, or you as a voter - and what happens to your vote.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CANDIDATE DIES?

There are provisions in place for if the worst happens and a candidate dies or is totally incapacitated by serious illness or injury.

An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said under those circumstances, the candidate vote in that electorate would be cancelled, but the party vote would continue.

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"So voters in that electorate would still be able to cast their party vote."

A by-election would be held later to determine who would be the local MP.

The odds of this happening are pretty low - the spokeswoman said the commission "can't recall this happening before".

WHAT IF THEY WANT TO WITHDRAW?

For candidates who get cold feet, or are struck down by scandal, things are a bit trickier.

The spokeswoman said at this stage of the election cycle there was "no provision for a candidate to withdraw from the election" apart from death or total incapacity.

That means the candidates name would stay on the ballot paper through the election. If they were to win, the spokeswoman said the normal provisions for when a politician resigns would kick in.

For an electorate MP, that means a by-election would be held.

WHAT IF I CAST MY VOTE EARLY AND THEN I DIE?

If a person votes early and then dies before election day, their vote is not counted.

However, if someone who has voted early dies on election day, their vote is in.

"We receive daily notifications from Births, Deaths and Marriages, so can identify voters who have died," the spokeswoman said.

Survey: which politicians do you trust and what will influence your vote? Tell us your views.

 

 - Stuff

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