I was at the farewell function last night for the retiring CEO of the Electoral Commission, Helena Catt. I was very pleased to be invited despite having helped take the Commission to court a couple of times 🙂
Dr Catt mentioned that a paper was due out today on how a text reminder on election day significantly increased vote turnout. The paper is here.
There were 15,662 who had texted the EEC requesting an enrolment pack.Some of them were sent a text message on election day reminding them to vote, and some were not.
The turnout rate of those who got a text message was 75.5% – a significant 4.7% higher than the 70.8% who did not get a text message.
The biggest increase in voting was in low population density electorates (rural), electorates with high Maori populations and amongst people enrolled in the last month – they had a greater than 10% difference
I was amused that a few people replied to the text message, and this was one response:
HEY ORANGE GUY WE HAVIN FLAT WARMING 2NYTE BRING THE ORANGE JUICE AND ALL YR FRIENDS.
Anyway the results are strong enough that I think the Government should seriously look at doing a mass text on election day to enrolled voters. This would mean the EEC would have to collect cellphone numbers, but that can be done with a small law change.