NZ Election 2020: Kiwis stuck in managed isolation to be able to vote by telephone

Kiwis stuck in COVID-19 managed isolation during the 2020 election will now be able to vote over the phone.

Up to 5000 people in managed isolation or quarantine will be able to vote by telephone in the general election, the Electoral Commission announced on Wednesday.

Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright says the Electoral Commission concluded it was the simplest way to collect votes from the country's 32 managed isolation facilities.

"We looked at a range of options, but all of them involved more contacts with individuals in isolation because of COVID-19. Dictation voting neatly avoids any contact risks," she says.

"This was the one that stood out and made sure people could do it contact-free, hands-free and ensuring keeping the facilities as safe as possible."

The voter will call in from their hotel room, answer a series of questions to confirm they're not an impostor - including a secret question they've chosen.

An official will mark their voting paper for them, they will then hang up and call half-an-hour later where a second official will double-check their vote.

"That way it's kept completely secret and ensures only those eligible vote in that way," Wright says.

In the last election, 3.2 million people were enrolled to vote but just over 2.6 million cast a vote.

The Commission will provide interpreters for those who do not speak English and make individual arrangements for those who have a speech disability. Travellers without a mobile phone will be able to use a landline in their room.