Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: 14 Pages of Democracy

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  • Brendon Steen,

    This was a delight to read. Thank you very much for posting.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    I think Judge Adams must have gone to the Lord Denning School of Judicial Writing.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Islander,

    So, where the fuck were the other million of us?
    Squatting at home, becoming further & further uninvolved?
    THIS is the part I cannot understand-

    If they weren't too apathetic to vote, then I suspect they were too disillusioned to vote.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4365 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Gosh what a wonderful piece of writing. I love [6] - it's the start of a novel!

    How lovely to know we have people like Judge Adams overseeing stuff like this that really matters - cos you can tell they really do give a damn.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    “…[7] Stacked against two walls, more than 60 cardboard boxes await our attention.
    They contain all the ballot papers for Waitakere in this election. Each box represents…”

    Surely we don’t need more evidence that electronic voting is a corporate profit making solution looking for a voting problem that doesn’t exist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW, in reply to Christopher Nimmo,

    [52] seems like a really strange decision to me. I could see his point if the pens were black/blue... but orange is just such a perfect colour for highlighting!

    Good point - I think providing felt pens with rather transparent orange ink is taking their electoral branding to unnecessary lengths and with just that downside. OK, I understand the value of having a colour without any connotations of a political party, but ...

    I found the pen disconcertingly light-coloured and hesitated to use it. Have used them many times before but perhaps when unpressured in a very quiet office for an advance vote there was time for this contemplation.

    Perhaps not a strange decision then, but definitely questionable.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    [42] kind of epitomises the National Party's approach to crime ("We have no evidence anyone is thinking about breaking in and interfering with the ballot papers, and it's never happened before, BUT IT MIGHT!"). I particularly liked Judge Adams' judgement that the police had better things to do.

    [49] was also illuminating - I'm surprised they allowed votes where people had crossed out their first choice and tried again, but I'm glad we have the kind of system where that's a possibility.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Joshua Grainger,

    Interesting. I don’t suppose a judgement is available for the Christchurch Central recount?

    I’ve never known of a recount judgment before.

    Which I realise now isn't entirely accurate, because Judge Adams himself references one :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    The other was that doing so would make Labour look bad to the public; they should quit whining about the result, take it on the chin and stop being sore losers.

    Well, yeah... which is why most close results (Tauranga in '99 comes to mind) don't escalate to electoral petitions. As I said elsewhere, it's definitely the costly, time-gobbling. high-risk nuclear option you don't go for lightly. That said, I don't like words like "whining" being thrown around - if Labour believe they have grounds for an electoral petition, as specified in legislation, they're entitled to have it tested in a court of law. End of story.

    I love how you can just tell from reading the judgment that when he said it was a privilege to be involved he *really* meant it.

    For all my cynical bitching about politics, this is just another data point in my theory that people involved in elections actually take it very seriously. And so they should. I suspect Adams also wanted to make his reasoning and process crystal clear. Won't stop the conspiratorial mutterings of the usual suspects, of course, but I guess you've got to work on the assumption that most people are fundamentally rational.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Thanks for that Graeme
    It is really interesting to get an inside view of the thinking on the tricky votes or rather how people don't take instructions seriously
    The votes that interest me are the so called "take-away votes" real room for skulduggery there
    I think the law should be tightened up there

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    The votes that interest me are the so called “take-away votes” real room for skulduggery there
    I think the law should be tightened up there

    I'd agree with you there, on principle. At the same time, I'm sure we don't want to rest home residents and folks in hospital on E-Day effective disenfranchised when they're otherwise qualified and competent to vote. In the end, you've got to start with the presumption that people aren't utter, wretched douchebags and try and find the balance from there.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Islander,

    So, where the fuck were the other million of us?
    Squatting at home, becoming further & further uninvolved?
    THIS is the part I cannot understand-

    Good point Islander - Graeme thanks for this its reassuring to read how carefully and considered the recount process was but taking Islander thought one step further it would be good to have a "recount" of all those who didn't vote. An attempt at least to shovel some understanding into what is it that motivates ( demotivates) people to not vote.

    I was up in the Hokianga on polling day helping out with a hangi - talking to a young mum afterwards as we watch the telly she said " who are the blue ones?" we talked further and i realised she had no understanding whatsoever about the election process, the parties, government , the lot. She loved her little son that's all she knew.

    And I didn't feel any judgement on her - got me to thinking what the F... does it all mean anyway, for while at least.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 503 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    In the end, you've got to start with the presumption that people aren't utter, wretched douchebags and try and find the balance from there.

    And the results, when closely examined, would appear to suggest that this is basically a valid assumption. You can quibble about the odd vote here and there, but there's certainly no evidence of intentional electoral fraud in Waitakere, and I'm going to assume anywhere else. I may heartily dislike the results of our latest election, but I couldn't and wouldn't dispute its validity. We're lucky that way.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    The votes that interest me are the so called "take-away votes" real room for skulduggery there

    In theory perhaps, but in practice I believe the system is robust.

    I picked up a takeaway vote on the day for my wife, who was unable to walk any distance. I had to identify myself, my qualification to be able to get a takeaway vote, sign for it. Then at home Selena had to complete the special vote declaration, I witnessed it, she voted, and sealed the vote in the correct compartment. We went through a helpful checklist which came with the voting package.

    The real protection, with ordinary votes as with specials and takeaways, is the diversity of opportunities to vote. A would-be fraudster has no way of knowing who has not voted (or is going to do so before 7pm.) And even so, as has been noted I think on the earlier thread, the effort needed is far greater than the reward.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I agree and think it is great that the law follows the principal that it is people's intention that is important rather than what they did
    "An orange heart" instead of a tick, I have a feeling I can guess who marked that paper

    And while it is great a take-away vote gives citizens who cannot travel a vote I worry about who actually marks the paper
    Whats to stop a party (blue or red take your pick) arranging this to their advantage
    I do know Labour organises to get people out to vote, in fact boast about it

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    As an aside, has anyone seen any Briefings to Incoming Ministers pop up yet? They had all been released by 17 December last time and were trumpeted by each minister as they came out, but nary a word this time.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    No, the orange heart comment is thus:

    [47]........My favourite was the voter who emphasised their tick for Carmel Sepuloni by drawing an orange heart in the rectangle containing her name."

    They had ticked.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1500 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Whats to stop a party (blue or red take your pick) arranging this to their advantage
    I do know Labour organises to get people out to vote, in fact boast about it

    If you are suggesting any connection between these statements,
    could you please make that connection explicit?
    What, if anything, do you think Labour has done? and on what basis?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 921 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Whats to stop a party (blue or red take your pick) arranging this to their advantage

    Please be explicit about what you are suggesting.

    I think you do not have a solid argument to suggest wrongdoing. As I noted above, any would-be fraudster is stymied by not knowing who has not (and is not) going to vote.

    So any party is not going to collect takeaway votes unless an elector has asked. And if that elector has asked they either (a) know they filled the vote out themself or (b) trust the party's person. Had I asked for a takeaway vote to be collected and the party's person never came back, I'd be screaming from the rooftops.

    As an aside, parties' person handling takeaway votes have to be approved in advance by the returning officer IIRC.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to nzlemming,

    Briefings to Incoming Ministers pop up yet? They had all been released by 17 December last time and were trumpeted by each minister as they came out, but nary a word this time.

    Last time the Ministers were sworn in on 19 November: this year it was 14 December.

    I've made a phone call and will report. There is usually a coordinated programme to release the BIMs.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    And National puts adverts in the paper with phone numbers for people to ring for takeaway votes. The point is?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    folks in hospital on E-Day

    An aside: there were polling places in most if not all hospitals on polling day.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    Last time the Ministers were sworn in on 19 November: this year it was 14 December.

    I've made a phone call and will report. There is usually a coordinated programme to release the BIMs.

    Doh! of course. Damn my suspicious mind ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    ...release the BIMs.

    This has a certain gothic frisson...

    Shame they didn't go for
    In Coming Briefs for Ministers
    ICBMs seem more in keeping
    with the prevailing MAD* paradigm...

    *Mutually Assured Destruction

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5071 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Are you saying MADness, takes its toll?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

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