Ballot paper order

September 24th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

writes:

Having failed to get elected in two earlier campaigns, the candidate previously known as Cheryl Talamaivao has wisely rethought her tactics. But deciding to elevate her position on the ballot paper by tacking her great-grandfather’s surname in front of her own may turn out to be something of an own goal in her bid for election to the Henderson-Massey Local Board.

As Brown-Talamaivao, she is now number six on the ballot paper, instead of the second-to-last at number 27 she would have been as plain Talamaivao. But the experts, in what in Australia is referred to as the “donkey vote” advantage, reckon that being second to bottom is a good place to be, and argue that candidates at the tail end of a long list of contenders share a similar advantage to those at the beginning, over the poor suckers stranded in the middle. …

The unfair advantage, in particular to those at the top of the ballot paper, is well studied and proven. The Local Government Commission examined the outcome of the 2007 New Zealand local elections and found that those listed alphabetically at the top of the ballot papers and candidate profile booklets “were up to 4 per cent more likely to be elected than those whose names were later in the alphabet”. Names like Anae, Brown, Brewer, Casey and Coney.

The commission also noted “a significant bias in favour of candidates in the left column of voting documents”.

A similar effect was found in an analysis of the 2010 Greater London local elections by City University researchers. After examining the fate of 5000 candidates, they found that “ballot position did indeed strongly influence the number of votes received by candidates”. There was evidence that “the strength of this effect is sufficient to overcome voter preference for party …”

I strongly support random ordering on ballot papers, and note that the online voting option to be trialed in 2016 may allow random ordering also, which would be beneficial.

Sadly far too many of our local body elections are not truly informed democratic votes. We need more wards, with fewer candidates per ward. I’d have every ward as a single Councillor ward so people are voting for just one Mayor and one Councillor.

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13 Responses to “Ballot paper order”

  1. iMP (2,247 comments) says:

    She’s lucky, this Chch mayoral candidate won’t get ANY votes regardless of where he is placed on the ballot.

    Democracy Cake really is baked generously with nuts…

    http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/be-afraid-be-very-afraid/

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  2. tas (596 comments) says:

    We should have fewer elected offices. Most voters have know nothing about the candidates for local board, regional council, DHB, etc. — myself included.

    The city council should just be composed of all the local MPs. That way we have fewer politicians, and fewer don’t-care elections.

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  3. berend (1,634 comments) says:

    DPF: Sadly far too many of our local body elections are not truly informed democratic votes.

    We just need less government. Let the lefties do some real work instead of bothering people.

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  4. Pete George (22,867 comments) says:

    Dunedin voting papers have candidates randomly listed this year.

    Number of candidates is a problem, I’m standing in Central Ward which has 35 candidates for 11 positions. Evaluating all candidates and then ranking them is something most people attempt superficially or not at all.

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  5. marcw (227 comments) says:

    Christchurch has managed random candidate order on the ballot paper for this year and also in 2010. Is there a reason why Auckland (and presumably Wellington) seem so retarded? Mind you, I’d rather we had fewer other problems and had this project as a “to do.”

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  6. Sidey (248 comments) says:

    It’s probably an obvious question, but I assume any random ordering isn’t just done so everyone gets the same paper (just not in alphabetical order) but so that say two voters have papers ordered differently, to even out any bias effect?

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  7. Redbaiter (7,643 comments) says:

    It’s probably an obvious question, but I assume any random ordering isn’t just done so everyone gets the same paper (just not in alphabetical order) but so that say two voters have papers ordered differently, to even out any bias effect?

    Incomprehensible garbage. Try again.

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  8. gravedodger (1,517 comments) says:

    One problem when I have so helpfully gathered up all the voting papers from the couldn’t care less bunch is having to carefully seek out the correct square to place the vote in.
    Mistakes are so much more likely with randomised ballots.

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  9. Harriet (4,534 comments) says:

    “…..I strongly support random ordering on ballot papers, and note that the online voting option to be trialed in 2016 may allow random ordering also, which would be beneficial…..”

    I presume that would mean that every person gets a ‘random ordering’ online voting list – until all the combinations have been used up- and then the programme starts again?

    Or do you mean those on the list are simply drawn by ballot or something?

    If it’s by ballot, then you’re right back at square one – those listed at the top, or on the left side get an advantage.

    However if the lists are drawn at random for each person – then ALL candidates get the advantage/disadvantage.

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  10. GPT1 (2,091 comments) says:

    The irony is where candidates are randomly listed if you have actually thought about who you are voting for the challenge is finding them.

    That said, the lesser of the two evils has to be random.

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  11. Sidey (248 comments) says:

    Redbaiter at 2:56 pm

    Incomprehensible garbage. Try again

    Can’t help yourself, can you? Get help.

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  12. Sidey (248 comments) says:

    Redbaiter at 2:56 pm

    Incomprehensible garbage. Try again

    Can’t help yourself, can you? Thanks for adding to the discussion.

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  13. Inky_the_Red (736 comments) says:

    If it is not already been said when names are random they appear in a different order on each ballot paper.
    So for the Shirley Papanui community board on half the papers John Stringers name will appear before me and on the other half I’ll be listed before him

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