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Data matching

Annual Report

Purpose: To compare the citizenship register with the electoral roll so that people who are qualified to vote but have not enrolled may be invited to enrol.

DIA Citizenship disclosure to Electoral Commission: Citizenship provides full name, date of birth and residential address of new citizens aged 17 years and over (by grant or by descent).

Compliance: Compliant.

Technical information

Information matching provision Electoral Act 1993, s.263B(3)(d)
Year authorised 2002
Year commenced 2002
Programme type Identifying unclaimed entitlement
Updating data

System description
The Electoral Commission uses the NZ Post Enrolment Service (ES) to operate a set of five programmes designed to identify people who are eligible to vote but are not on the electoral roll (or whose enrolment details need updating). Those who are 17 years old are invited to enrol provisionally, in anticipation of when they turn 18. These programmes are:

  • NZTA (driver licence)/EC Unenrolled Voters Programme
  • NZTA (vehicle registration)/EC Unenrolled Voters Programme
  • MSD/EC Unenrolled Voters Programme (beneficiaries and students)
  • DIA(Passports)/EC Unenrolled Voters Programme
  • Citizenship/EC Unenrolled Voters Programme.

The files received are processed together in a sequence (NZTA drivers licences then NZTA vehicle registration, MSD (Benefits), Passports, MSD (Student Loans) and finally Citizenship) intended to maximise the benefits from each run.

Drivers ⇾ Vehicles ⇾ Benefits ⇾ Passports ⇾ Students ⇾ Citizenship

The process for each of the matches is essentially the same.

1. The source agency creates an encrypted file extract from its records of people aged 17 and over who supplied their details in the period covered by the extract. Each extract includes full name, date of birth, address(es) and the date the record was last updated. This file is picked-up by ES staff.

2. ES matches each extract with the electoral database on the basis of surname, given name/s and date of birth.

3. The addresses for matched records are compared and if the addresses are the same, the records received for matching are deleted since the EEC's records are, in effect, confirmed as current and no further action is needed.

4. Where the addresses differ, the 'update dates' are compared as ES need the most recent address. If the 'update date' from the source agency[1] is later than the 'update date' from the electoral roll record, and the ES does not have that address for that elector in their history, the details are saved to a correspondence file of individuals to be sent an invitation to update their details.

5. Random samples of 'possibly matched' records are examined manually to establish whether or not they should be regarded as matched. Where records appear to match, the process detailed in the previous paragraph is followed.

6. 'Not matched' records are saved to the correspondence file of individuals to be sent an invitation to enrol.

7. Before any invitation letters are generated, the correspondence file is sorted to eliminate duplicates. This internal check ensures that when a client record appears in more than one source agency file, only the first such record identified is used to generate a letter to the client. This prevents EEC from sending multiple invitations to an individual. ES also maintains a record of information sent to it by the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages about deaths within the past five years. This is used to ensure that data matching correspondence is not sent to anyone who has died.

8. Records from the correspondence database are deleted when the electoral roll is updated for that elector, when ES receives notice of death or other special circumstances requiring that the person not be contacted again, or when it receives a 'gone no address' response that is not contradicted by more recent information.

The 'no response' category for these four matches differs from other programmes in that no further action is taken in these matches if there is no response received. Non-response is not seen as a form of agreement and this programme requires a positive 'opt-in' response.

Recent activity

   2011/12 2012/13  2013/14  2014/15 2015/16
Match runs 4 4 3 3 3
Records compared 71,971 23,041 57,208 32,188 16,757
Invitations to enrol/update sent out 788 863 459 519 566
Presumed delivered 774 844 445 508 556
Enrolments (new) 104 100 106 90 61
Percentage of letters delivered resulting in changes 15% 12% 24% 18% 11%
No response 670 744 339 418 495
Cost $920 $798 $727 $797 $574
Average cost per enrolment $8.85 $7.98 $6.87 $8.85 $9.40

[1] The 'update date' supplied by the agency may be the last date the record was updated in any form, and does not necessarily relate to an updated address.