Rob’s point about the double standard is well made. What I can’t see is a compelling argument as to why he, or other private individuals, should have access to that information, which outweighs concerns for people’s physical safety.
There isn’t one, but there isn’t one for having it available for purchase by businesses either. Which is Rob’s point, subtly disguised. (edit: IMHO)
voter contact by political parties is a key driver of voter turnout
They don't necessarily need the roll for this.
Because the roll (thank god) doesn't have any online contact details, online engagement doesn't involve it at all. And parties can knock on doors, attend events and a bunch of other forms of engagement without a list of voters. Also, we could have the system that applies (I think) in the UK where each party gets a free mailshot to all registered voters - that could be processed by the EC and NZ Post without giving out names and addresses.
What would happen if we dropped the voting age to, say, 14?
I think democracy would be much improved by the active inclusion of young people in the electoral process. Government is for the future as much as it is for the present. We might end up with more positive child and youth policies, even.
I have a friend (mid 30s) who was finally persuaded to go on the electoral roll last year. Now she is a trifle annoyed because officialdom has found her and called her up for jury duty...
Sorry I just said something verry silly. Selfie redact.
why I find the Commission so fabulous they're probably brunette and have an opinion on the Oxford comma.
I love them already.
we are beginning to head towards a time where hacking our elections become merely a question of cost/benefit. I'm glad to hear online voting isn't a priority for the 2017 general election at least.
Same here. I think the hacking issues could be dealt with to some degree of acceptence, but I really struggle to see how the major social issues (notably a guarantee of secrecy, a freedom from coercion, and an ability for the vast majority of voters to clearly understand and trust how everyone's votes come to be reliably counted) could ever be resolved when e-voting is even merely provided as an option. I've yet to see promoters of internet voting actually address these, or even acknowledge them as potential issues, so am glad that it's not seriously on the radar yet at least.
I wonder whether a lot of young people just don’t ‘get’ politics. They don’t see how it is relevant. Most of the post-young people I have met who don’t vote (there aren’t many of these in my daily life, so small sample), don’t do it out of a sense of pointlessness, just a sense of irrelevance, “what’s-it-got-to-do-with-me?"-ness.
I’ve never felt like not casting a vote in a New Zealand election. Even when I was younger and thought all options were stupid, I intentionally went to the polling booth and spoiled my voting paper so it’d still be counted. I loyally voted from overseas because I always planned to come back, even without the specific plan.
BUT, I had my first taste of utter indifference during my few years in Australia recently. I have dual citizenship through inheritence, and they picked up that I’d arrived when we signed up for electricity and I had to sign a statement saying I was a citizen. Meaning no disrespect to the wonderful country of Australia, we never had plans to remain there long term. I didn’t feel as if I had any reasonable stake in its future, or Vic’s future. Being made to vote in the local election for a geometric rectangle of suburban houses and roads, where I’d spend 7 hours sleeping each night but otherwise had very little commitment to or understand of, just felt like an insult to the people who must actually be living there long term and understand the issues and care about the place. If I wasn’t forced to vote then I wouldn’t have.
It gave me a new perspective on voter apathy in New Zealand, though, especially when trying to explain this to my (Australian) aunt who’s well in the camp of it being everyone’s duty to vote. Is it always that some people simply don’t understand politics and find it too confusing and irrelevant to bother with or don't see options they like, or more that they don’t feel a very strong connection to New Zealand and its future?
Is it always that some people simply don’t understand politics and find it too confusing and irrelevant to bother with or don’t see options they like, or more that they don’t feel a very strong connection to New Zealand and its future?
There's a third and obvious possibility. They think that their vote doesn't count for much in the big picture. It's a 3 millionth share in not much by way of choice.
But it's all of these things together too. It all adds up.
What would happen if we dropped the voting age to, say, 14?
That could be interesting if it makes it easier for schools to foster more youth interest while they're still inside the system. (Cue people complaining about partisan teachers.)
If there are too many cold feet amongst those who aren't certain that the developing brains of the irresponsible irrational impressionable youth would vote for the same correct options as the deteriorating brains of us responsible rational rigid adults, is there at least some way that part of the parliament's representation could be allocated for youth reps to vote for, at least as a trial run?
There’s a third and obvious possibility. They think that their vote doesn’t count for much in the big picture. It’s a 3 millionth share in not much by way of choice.
Russel Brand didn't help much, there.
I'm not sure I believe that hacking an e-election is any worse than the blatant purchasing of policy by donors that exists now.
Cue people complaining about partisan teachers
Because partisan parents are sooooo much better
, David Farrar used the National Party’s copy of the Roll to try to look up a female MP’s home address in order to pass it on to Cameron Slater
I thought Farrars prime role for national in the election area, was in the drawing of the electoral boundaries.
Now theres an area of political maneuvering and skullduggery that could be an episode of Game of Thrones ( but with a bigger cast)
It could be quite a cool thing, though. Political parties could send delegates around schools to speak to youth about their voting decisions they’d actually be making towards a real outcome, have debates and so on. Being at local political debates is often a completely different experience from watching the highlighted trash of parliament. Sometimes there’s even evidence that MPs and candidates (certainly some of them) can act in civilised ways, contrary to the entrenched view I suspect more than a few people have of everything to do with politics.
One of the arguments for compulsory voting is that parties would then not be able to ignore a particular section of the (eligible) population, because those people have to vote. I think that stacks up less in a proportional system, because there are fewer barriers in the way of a party choosing to appeal to a disenchanted niche vote.
I don't follow that. Is appealing to a disenchanted niche vote wrong? If so, then we should be happy kids don't vote.
Is appealing to a disenchanted niche vote wrong? If so, then we should be happy kids don’t vote.
No, not at all, that’s kind of the opposite of what I was trying to say. In a non-proportional system, it’s easier to ignore a minority group of voters. It’s easier for there to be, for realsies, no actual point in voting, because you can’t change anything. Compulsory voting means those people will vote anyway, which may work as a disincentive for parties to crap on those people. Under a proportional system, it’s much easier for a viable party to emerge that caters to their interests. Which, huzzah.
One thing this report does do, I think, is very firmly put to bed the idea that it was the introduction of MMP which caused the drop in voter turnout.
No, not at all, that’s kind of the opposite of what I was trying to say.
I did think so, thanks for clarifying.
Compulsory voting seems like such and easy fix for declining participation. We went through all this before, can't find the thread just now.
I find the arguments against it really uncompelling. The "right to not participate" is covered by compulsory voting only making it compulsory to turn up and put a ballot in the box, possibly at an advance station. It needn't be filled out, or filled out correctly so it can be counted. It could contain an option expressing a wish not to vote, or a no-confidence option, or nothing, or an essay, or a picture. If you find all of that too offensive, you could apply to be exempted on some kind of grounds. Or you could fail to show and just cop a small but annoying fine (whose annoyance would most likely be negatively correlated with age).
This is not pie-in-the-sky, it's how our closest major neighbor has done it for ages, and they have a far smaller problem with declining turnout as a result. It would put to bed all questions about why people aren't showing up, would mean no government could claim that the huge number of people who didn't vote did so because they tacitly approve of the government. Unless that were actually true, which it might be. Australia shows that high turnout doesn't mean that people love the government as a result.
I write a bit about this. I've written about the issues for online voting regarding our rights here: https://medium.com/@nigelmcnie/democratic-principles-and-online-voting-836b7dbd1c73
And also about New Zealand's steady march towards having online voting here: https://medium.com/@nigelmcnie/the-next-step-for-online-voting-in-new-zealand-498ce4e86201
In short: In today's internet environment, it's just not possible to uphold our democratic rights to a free and fair election, as per article 21 of the UN declaration of human rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a21
And despite this, we are pushing on with politically binding rollouts of online voting in NZ local government elections, laughably called "trials".
So with compulsory voting, you force the non-voters to attend the ballot and at least go through the motions of expressing a preference.
What is this meant to achieve? How is it different from declaring that the non-voters voted in the same proportion as the voters, and hence we have an imaginary 100% turnout.
It's not removing disengagement, it's just renaming it.
Russel Brand didn’t help much, there.
Rob Salmond has a new post up regarding access to electoral rolls.
The regrettable part is that this solution would perpetuate the current double standard where it is OK to run a civic participation campaign using roll information if out are also standing in the election, but not if you are a non-partisan, pro-turnout group.
Regarding both dropping the age of suffrage and compulsory voting. If we did either of those things and nothing else, we'd get:
- a large waste of money, time, and effort on the part of the EC, dealing with deliberately spoiled/blank ballot papers
- a larger section of the eligible voting population not voting.
It seems to me that either approach would also require work done on engaging people to value their vote. Which needs to be done anyway.
What is this meant to achieve?
Higher voter turnout, like what it does achieve in Australia, over and over and over.
It’s not removing disengagement, it’s just renaming it.
No, it's doing a lot more than that. It's actually recording it, officially, in some detail. It's treating as a duty something that most of the population acts like is a duty, argues like it is a duty, scratches their head wondering why this duty is so hard to get people to go through with. It's like we've got clown shoes on our heads over this. If you think it's a duty, you should think it should be compulsory, or you don't know what the word duty means. If you don't think it's a duty, then why are you even complaining about it? "People don't want to vote, so what? Get over it?" is more consistent than having this discussion every damned election.