Frequently asked questions about the referendums

Find out more about voting in the 2020 referendums

Browse this section to find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Participating in the referendums

When are the referendums being held?

The referendums are being held alongside the General Election on Saturday 17 October.

If you're in New Zealand, you'll be able to vote when advance voting starts on Saturday 3 October. If you'll be overseas at the time, you can vote from overseas from Wednesday 30 September.

See the election timetable at

How do I vote in the referendums?

At the voting place, you will be given a voting paper for the election and a voting paper for the referendums.

Visit to find out:

  • When to vote
  • Where to vote
  • What to take with you when you vote
  • What happens when you get to a voting place

Learn how to vote at

What is a referendum?

A referendum is a vote on a question. A referendum can be started by a citizen or by the Government. If you are enrolled to vote, you can vote in a referendum. Referendums are an important part of New Zealand's democracy.

Learn more about referendums at

Do I have to vote in both referendums and the General Election?

At this year's General Election, New Zealanders can vote in:

  • the General Election
  • a referendum on the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill
  • a referendum on the End of Life Choice Act 2019.

Eligible voters can choose to vote in all, some, or none of these.

Enrolling to vote

Do I have to be enrolled to vote in the referendums?

Yes. You need to be enrolled to vote in the election and referendums.

Check or update your details online now at

How do I enrol to vote in the referendums?

It's easy to enrol online at using your New Zealand driver licence, New Zealand passport or RealMe verified identity.

You can also:

  • call 0800 36 76 56 to get a form sent to you in the mail to complete, sign and return
  • Freetext your name and address to 3676 to get a form sent to you in the mail to complete, sign and return.

Enrol online at

Am I eligible to enrol and vote?

To enrol and vote, you need to be 18 years or older, a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and have lived in New Zealand continuously for 12 months or more at some time in your life.

Enrol online at

Can I enrol to vote from overseas?

Yes. Enrolling from overseas is easy and means you can take part in New Zealand's elections and referendums. Check your eligibility and enrol now.

Enrol to vote from overseas at

Can I get help to enrol?

Yes. Visit to find out who can help you enrol to vote, and how you can act on behalf of someone who can't complete their enrolment form.

Getting help to enrol

Referendum results

When will the results be announced?

Referendum votes will not be counted on election night. Preliminary referendum results will be released by the Electoral Commission on Friday 30 October. The official results will be released on Friday 6 November.