A story in The Press today has caused a little confusion about what weather forecasters and the news media can say on Election Day with regards to the weather conditions – but the Electoral Commission says while there are some rules around the reporting of the weather, the news story isn’t quite right.
In the story The Press said “No weather anywhere in the country can be reported publicly and linked to voting from 9am to 7pm on election day, the Electoral Commission says. The commission says that, under the 1993 Electoral Act, “statements such as `weather looks a bit bleak, turnout quiet at this polling place’ would be prohibited as such a statement could be construed as discouraging people from voting”.
But the Electoral Commission says it’s not quite so black and white. The Commission says the media and forecasters are not allowed to sway voters on the day. In other words, WeatherWatch.co.nz (for example) can’t say “It’s a bit bleak outside, you’re better off staying indoors and not voting” or “It’s looking like an indoors day today” or “this weather will be helping candidate or party X”.
However current weather conditions and warnings can be reported on, so long as they don’t sway voters in any way.
WeatherWatch.co.nz supports the Electoral Commission and on Election Day we’ll be telling any readers in wet, windy or cold places that “If it’s stormy now, here’s the best time to get out and vote”.
Until 7pm on Saturday WeatherWatch.co.nz will be moderating comments on our website and social media sites and will not publish any political comments as per the election laws.
However from 7pm Saturday we welcome our readers to join us on our Facebook page to discuss the results as they come in, and to discuss how the weather may have played a part in your day.