Following the 2008 election a rule change allowed advance voting for virtually any reason.

Almost a fifth of those likely to vote in this year's election have already done so with through advance voting, with two days still to go - a result that is likely to force a rethink of electoral advertising rules.

The Electoral Commission yesterday confirmed a total of 434,197 advance votes had been cast so far. Assuming a similar turnout this election to that in 2011, that works out about 19 per cent of the total vote.

The figure has already easily topped the 334,558 advance votes or 15 per cent of the total cast in 2011 which was the first election held under rules that meant anybody could advance vote. But with most parties promoting early voting, this year's total appears all but certain to top the 500,000 mark.

Laila Harre who led the union sponsored Get out and Vote campaign before becoming internet Party Leader this year said she was "very, very happy to see the massive increase".


"This is not just people changing their voting habits it's people being mobilized to vote."

Ms Harre said a significant factor driving higher advance voter turnout was that this was the first election in years held during the university and polytech term.

"So the fact that students are on campus, that there are polling booths on campus, and that there is political activity on campus is going to affect the youth voter turnout I'm sure of that."

The Electoral Commission was yesterday unable to provide data on which advance voting places were seeing the biggest increases in advance voting.

Ms Harre said the rising proportion of advance voting was likely to force the election day ban on political advertising and media coverage to be examined in the regular post election review.

"Obviously it becomes less and less meaningful the more and more people choose to vote early."

Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden yesterday said any change to the Electoral Act, including the election day ban on advertising, and media coverage including social media and online material "is a matter for parliament to decide".

Mr Peden said the strict rules banning election advertising such as the display of signs and the holding of demonstrations or processions on election day did not apply during the advance voting period.

"However, parties and candidates are asked to exercise restraint in and around advance voting places to avoid complaints."