Local Body Elections

May 25th, 2011 at 4:56 pm by David Farrar

The Justice and Electoral Select Committee has reported back its inquiry into the 2010 local body elections.

I was one of a relatively small number of submitters, and was pleased to see they have endorsed some of the proposals I made. It’s a good reminder that we have a small enough country that individuals can have an effect on laws, without having to be an MP yourself.

The recommendations of the committee are:

  1. have five, not four, weeks between close of nominations and delivery of voting papers
  2. have a trial of Internet voting in the 2013 local authority elections
  3. have more flexibility around the timing of release of profiles
  4. ensure the order of candidates names in voting papers is completely randomised
  5. examine the issue of candidates serving on multiple boards
  6. explore having the Electoral Commisson responsible for the oversight of local body elections

Nos 2, 4 and 6 were proposed by me (and possibly some others). The Government is not bound to do what the Committee recommends, but I hope they do. Postal voting is a dying mechanism – fewer and fewer people go to the post office regularly. An option of voting over the Internet would list turnout rates for local body elections, and also make it easier to make an informed vote.

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9 Responses to “Local Body Elections”

  1. Rex Widerstrom (5,307 comments) says:

    2.have a trial of Internet voting in the 2013 local authority elections

    Yay!! We can finally put to rest all this conspiracy theorist claptrap about shadowy cabals interfering with the votes being any more likely than with the paper version.

    4.ensure the order of candidates names in voting papers is completely randomised

    Oh come on. Do you realise how much easy moey I’ve made advising would-be candidates to change their name to “Aardvark”? :-D

    Aside from that, about time.

    5.examine the issue of candidates serving on multiple boards

    Excuse me, what? The Select Committee’s job is to examine these issues, not examine whether someone else (and who?!) should examine them. And the answer, IMHO, is blindingly obvious: One trough is enough.

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  2. Pete George (23,153 comments) says:

    4. ensure the order of candidates names in voting papers is completely randomised

    That’s a good one, it will mean election of candidates will be completely randomised. Except maybe mayors.

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  3. berend (1,671 comments) says:

    My proposal for an internet voting mechanism: “+1 ACT against borrow crazy Nats @nzelections”

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  4. poneke (280 comments) says:

    Postal voting is a dying mechanism – fewer and fewer people go to the post office regularly.

    Er, eyes-wide-open time David.

    You don’t have to go to a post office to post a letter.

    Those funny little red, white and silver boxes sitting on every third street corner are NZ Post posting boxes. Why, there’s even bound to be one near your place.

    [DPF: True but even then it is a mystery for many people. Many people under 40 only post one or two items a year, if that. They won't go hunting down a local mailbox just to vote for Council. But if they can click on a link and login and vote they will]

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  5. reid (16,062 comments) says:

    True but even then it is a mystery for many people.

    Well I’m not too sure we want people who can’t work out what those funny boxes are for, voting at all, for anything.

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  6. James (1,338 comments) says:

    While we are at it lets introduce a test to qualify to vote….like knowing who the current PM is….or proving you can sit the right way on a toilet seat…;-)

    While informed voters can be nullified by ignorant drop-kicks staggering into the booth half cut we are doomed never to get good government who will bring us the libertarian free market that’s so desperately needed to save NZ and our Grand kids from intergenerational debt slavery.

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  7. Pete George (23,153 comments) says:

    Democracy doesn’t work by restricting voting to those who are “informed” about the same ideals you pursue. I’m sure there are others with quite different ideals to yours who would like only their “informed” mates to vote.

    You may have to accept that if you are always going to be in a minority you will always be frustrated.

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  8. Ross Miller (1,676 comments) says:

    A curse upon postal voting for local body elections. If it is good enough for people to have to get off their arse and front up at a polling booth for our national elections then summa summa for local body elections.

    Postal voting is a rort waiting to happen.

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  9. Nick K (1,102 comments) says:

    The arguments against postal voting are strong and it should be done away with. But internet voting is not the answer.

    We shouldn’t make voters lazy in a democracy. We should make them go to the polling booth. Democracy is too easily lost through apathy, and sitting on your arse voting on your iPad is just that.

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