Election 2023: Peter Dunne says official election results should take days, not weeks to count

Peter Dunne is lighting a fire under the Electoral Commission, saying the country shouldn't have to wait three weeks for the official election result.

The political commentator and ex-MP said we are in danger of following suit with the US 2020 election, which had major delays in vote counting.

Preliminary results show the National Party on top with 38.95 percent, 50 seats and its likely coalition partner ACT with 11 seats – just reaching the 61 seats needed to govern. Labour has conceded defeat with 26.90 percent of the vote and 34 seats.

But with National and ACT only just reaching the magic number to govern, any seats lost when the official results are released, they would have to reach out to NZ First which won eight seats on early results.

More than 2,811,380 votes are expected to have been cast in this election.

But as we wait, it appears the country is in political limbo, with parties saying they are holding off making decisions on coalitions and leaderships until the final results are out.

Dunne, who was the former United Future leader and ex-Labour MP, said it should be quicker to process the results than three weeks.

 "We all laughed at what happened in America, after the last election, at how drawn out it was. We're in danger of repeating the same trend here," Dunne said during Newshub Nation's political panel.

"I think we need to speed the process up, the votes need to be transmitted back to the electorates, they should be counted much more quickly and then those results declared within days, I would think."

So why does it take so long?

On November 3, 20 days after election day, the Electoral Commission will declare the official results.

During the three weeks, all votes are recounted, and special declaration votes will be processed and counted. This is all done by hand - there are no vote-counting machines like they have in the US.

The commission also "scrutinises the roll" to make sure no one has voted more than once.

This year, the Electoral Commission has estimated 567,000 special votes - around 20.2 per cent of total votes. In 2020, there were 504,621 special votes.

The total estimated votes (those counted on election night plus estimated special votes still to be counted) is 2,811,380.

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