Going the Extra Mile
In 2009 Election Services worked with the New Zealand Government’s Chief Electoral Office to process the votes of the entire nation.

In 2009 the Government’s Chief Electoral Office undertook a national referendum on parental correction, but they required additional resources to undertake postal vote processing for over three million electors. They chose Election Services as their partners in this task, and we set up a processing centre and moved a team to Wellington for the duration to successfully deliver results according to their requirements.


The New Zealand corporal punishment referendum, 2009 was held from 31 July to 21 August by postal vote, and was a citizens-initiated referendum on parental corporal punishment.

As a nationwide referendum it involved over 3 million registered electors. Fresh off running a number of local government elections the year prior, Election Services worked alongside the New Zealand Electoral Commission to ensure the country’s voice was heard.

The Goal

As a citizens initiated referendum, the New Zealand public wanted to make their voice known. Election Services’ goal was to facilitate an accurate and timely outcome. We worked under tight deadlines, and even moved our premises and equipment across the country in order to make sure we delivered.

The Result

Voter turnout was 56.1% with over 329,000 votes returned on a single day and a total of 1,682,717 voting documents processed. Election Services worked around the clock to deliver the preliminary and final results, delivering preliminary results within a day and completing the processing of over one and a half million votes and producing the final result within 4 days, right on schedule.

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For the Citizens-Initiated Referendum (CIR), Election Services had to upscale, managing over 100 staff, as well as move half way across the country from Auckland to Wellington in order to process the results.


Being nationwide, the CIR had more than double the number of registered electors as the local government elections that we process every three years. Over 3 million registered voters received referendum papers and over 50% of those papers were returned. In order to process this number of papers, Election Services scaled up its staff to over 100, managing and coordinating the process centre to be a well-oiled machine.


The 2009 CIR was undertaken with New Zealand Government’s Chief Electoral Office and Electoral Commission. In order to make sure all voting papers were processed as close to home as possible, we moved offices from our Auckland based location and travelled halfway across the country to Wellington. As you can imagine, the organisation required was immense, but we were committed to meeting our client’s needs.


With over one and a half million voting papers returned in a three week period, Election Services had to stay on top of things. Returned voting papers were sorted and batched ready for processing. Almost every day brought in hundreds of thousands of voting papers, with one day bringing in over 329,000! During this time we kept the data sorted and provided daily updates of how many voting papers had been received.


Our dedicated team managed the processing centre. Voting papers were extracted, batched, scrutinized, validated, approved and reconciled (see our Elections and Polls page for details on this process), as part of our unique and exhaustive approach to processing, which produces accurate results.

The processing of returned voting papers by your team enabled the production of accurate and timely referendum results. The high level of commitment and dedication to work demonstrated by your entire team played a critical role in ensuring this challenging project stayed on track.

I am particularly thankful for your willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure that the Chief Electoral Office was able to deliver a quality referendum over a very short time frame.

Robert Peden
Chief Electoral Officer


Voting closed on August 21st and our team worked hard to ensure the 1,684,402 total votes cast were accurately captured, counted and the results delivered in a timely manner. We were able to provide preliminary results within the first day, and delivered the final results before the end of the 4th day - right on schedule.


Voting packs delivered


Voter turnout


Voting papers returned and processed