Step 5 - When an Election is Required, and Supporting Information

If there are more valid nominations received than the number of positions advertised, a voting election must be held. Voting papers must be posted or personally delivered to all people on the electoral roll after nominations close (14 days before the election date) and by nine days before the election date.


þ Preparation of voting papers after noon on:

20/05/2016  or (../../201x)

The voting paper can be accessed in electronic form by returning officers through log-on access to the Trustee election website, here.

NOTE: If you are a returning officer running elections for a combined board of trustees you will need to use a special voting paper (Form 9).

NOTE: Voting papers must be in a separate envelope for each voter. The following must be included with them:

a) Copies of any candidates’ statements, other than statements by candidates who have withdrawn

b) The envelope in which the voting paper must be returned.

We also recommend that a voting cover letter accompany the above; see the example on page 15.

þ Post cover letter, voting paper, return addressed envelope and candidate statement by: 

25/05/2016 (or ../../201x)

Please ensure that office staff at the school know and follow your requirements for the return of voting papers.

þ ELECTION DAY.  Close voting at noon on:

03/06/2016 (or ../../201x)


þ Count votes and declare results on:

09/06/2016 (or ../../201x)

NOTE: One invalid voting paper is counted as one invalid vote regardless of how many times the paper is marked or not marked. 

When an election is required - supporting information

Withdrawal of candidates

Any candidate may withdraw from election by giving written notice to the returning officer. Where this occurs you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that voters are notified of this, and if the withdrawal reduces the number of candidates standing to the same number as, or a smaller number than, the number of trustees required, that voting will no longer be required.

Voters may be notified of the withdrawal, where time allows, by public advertisement or written notice to electors, through the school newsletter, on the school website, and by prominent notices around the school.

If the withdrawal occurs after the voting papers have been distributed or too late to notify electors and the withdrawn candidate is elected, the withdrawal in effect causes a casual vacancy on the board. If the withdrawn candidate is not elected no further action is required.


(Insert school name) School

Board of Trustees Election

Parent representative Voting Paper

(Insert date)

How to return your voting paper

Please read carefully before voting!

This is a postal election and the voting paper is valid only if returned in the addressed envelope provided.

1. If posting your voting paper, you must use the enclosed envelope and post it to:

Returning Officer

(insert address)

Your vote will not be counted unless the envelope is postmarked before the day of the election, (insert date), and received by the returning officer not later than five days after the date of the election. Ensure that you post it as soon as possible because New Zealand Post has reduced its mail delivery service.

2. If delivering your voting paper, please ensure that it is delivered before noon on (insert date) in the enclosed envelope.

It should be taken to:

(insert address)

3. If your voting paper is delivered to the school, please ensure that it is delivered before noon on (insert date) in the enclosed envelope.

Voting closes on (insert date) at noon.


Signed (insert name)

Returning Officer


For the staff election, you may prepare a voting cover letter similar to the example above. 

Voting process

Each voter must be given a voting paper and a separate return envelope. This should be addressed to the returning officer and titled “voting paper”.

There is no requirement for the school board to pay for return postage by placing a stamp on each envelope or arranging a freepost service. However, the board may decide to pay for the cost of return postage. If you decide to use a freepost service to have the voting papers returned through the post, you must have a clear, preferably written, agreement with an accredited postal service, specifying the frequency with which it will deliver that mail to you.

Alternatively you can arrange to call at a PostShop or mail sorting centre at regular intervals to collect the mail. One of those calls must be on the day the voting closes. If you do “call and collect” you may be required to pay the amount of postage owing at each visit. The important thing is to make sure you understand the arrangements between yourself and the accredited postal service early in the process, and preferably before nominations close.

Many voting papers are returned by hand. In this case there will be no need for postage stamps.

All voting papers that are returned to the school either through the post or by hand should immediately be placed in the ballot box.

NOTE: “Personally deliver or post” does not include sending a notice home through the “schoolbag post”. It does mean sending the notice through an accredited postal service, or the returning officer personally handing the notice to the individual voter.

During the voting process

Invalid votes

A voting paper received after noon on election day is invalid unless the voting paper was posted before election day. A vote is also invalid if:

NOTE: A voting paper deemed to be invalid, for whatever reason, is to be recorded as one invalid vote regardless of the markings on the paper.

Appointment of scrutineers

Scrutineers are appointed as candidates’ “agents” and may be present during the time you are opening the envelopes, counting the votes and making decisions about the result of the election.

A candidate may appoint one person as a scrutineer but they cannot appoint themselves or another candidate. You must be advised, in writing, of the names (and preferably contact details) of any scrutineers before the day that voting closes.

You must advise the scrutineer(s) of when and where you will be counting the votes. You should attempt to make arrangements to suit everyone involved, but you have a timetable that must be adhered to.

A scrutineer is entitled to be present and observe the opening of envelopes containing voting papers. They may also examine the envelopes and voting papers, and then observe the counting of votes. They are not entitled to be involved in the process. If there is a tie involving a candidate represented by a scrutineer, the scrutineer is entitled to be present while you break the tie by lot (see below).

Tied votes

Where an equal number of valid votes have been cast for two or more candidates in any election, and the position at issue is the last to be filled, you must decide by lot which candidate is elected. For example, if there is a tie for first place both candidates are declared elected.

However, if there are five positions being contested and four are clearly filled but there is a tie for the fifth position, you need to break the tie. This decision must be made in the presence of two trustees from the existing board, or two members of staff if board members are not available in a reasonable time, and in the presence of any scrutineers representing the affected candidates. NOTE: The principal and staff representative are both members of the existing board.

Examples of “lot” are tossing a coin, cutting a pack of cards, drawing straws and pulling a name out of a hat.

Integrity of the electoral process

Voting papers may NOT be faxed or emailed as attachments. It is a postal election and each voting paper must be sent back in the return envelope that was posted out or hand delivered with the voting paper; otherwise the voting paper is invalid.

This election is by way of a secret ballot. This is the same as voting in government and local body elections. You should find a quiet room or area to concentrate on the vote count without distractions. Access to that area should be confined to any appointed assistants and scrutineers.

None of those people can communicate any information about the state of the voting or tell anyone how the votes are stacking up or provide any other information likely to defeat the secrecy of the ballot.

That state of confidentiality should be maintained from the moment the first voting paper is returned until you declare the result.


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