Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:
Social media will play a big part in the election campaign this year, but MPs and their supporters are being warned not to send messages using Twitter on election day. …
The commission would be making use of social media to promote the election, but would also be monitoring it to ensure people were following the law.
Electioneering on election day is an offence under the Electoral Act, with fines of up to $20,000.
“Tweeting, like any form of communication with the public where you are seeking to influence, is a breach of the act [if done on election day],” Mr Peden said.
Action would be taken against people caught sending tweets aimed at influencing voters on election day.
It is no surprise that the same rules apply to Twitter, as to any other medium. The rules are in s127 of the Electoral Act, specifically s217(1)(g)(i) and (iv).
at any time on polling day before the close of the poll exhibits in or in view of any public place, or publishes, or distributes, or broadcasts
(i) any statement advising or intended or likely to influence any elector as to the candidate or party for whom the elector should or should not vote; or
(iv) any party name, emblem, slogan, or logo; or
So even mentioning the name of a party on Twitter on election day could be a breach. I doubt action would be taken unless it was in the context of the election.
Of course not everyone on Twitter uses their real name, or has contact details, so any enforcement action could prove problematic.Tags: Electoral Act, twitter