Voters are at the polls today in the Christchurch East by-election.

The 24 polling stations in the electorate, which was badly hit in the Canterbury earthquakes and seen voter numbers plummet by about 10,000 people, opened at 9am this morning and close at 7pm.

Voter turnout is seen as key for the by-election and a steady stream of people have been going through the polling booths today in warm, nor-west weather.

A total of 3241 advance votes had been cast by the end of last night according to the Electoral Commission, compared with 5229 at the same stage during the last general election. But it was the highest number of advance votes cast for a by-election anywhere in the country.


Provisional results are expected mid-evening.

The official result, counting overseas and special votes, will be announced on December 10.