Voter turnout and systems

The Dominion Post has the inevitable story into the low voter turnout and delays.

It is quite unacceptable that some results took over 48 hours. There is something wrong when we have the results of the Australian election before the Wellington City Council, despite WCC closing at least 9 hours earlier. I suppose we should be grateful that we got the results at least before the Afghanistan results.

In hindsight the use of STV was a mistake. Now don’t get me wrong I think STV would be a good system for national politics, but is seems totally unsuitable for local body elections.

In national politics, most of the voters will have followed enough news to be able to have a fairly well formed view on which party and candidate they like, and those they do not.

But in local body politics, most candidates are invisible, and voting is almost all based on name recognition. I would estimate less than 5% actually vote based on detailed knowledge of the merits of various candidates.

Now FPP works well for local body, as all voters have to do is tick (for example) up to five people that they have vaguely warm feelings about. But if you then ask them to rank those five people in order, most have no idea, and hence it puts them voting. I have had several people tell me they got put off by the need to rank candidates.

STV seems to be a good example of great in theory but awful in practice.

I actually would vote for STV over FPP for national elections. But for local body elections, it should be dumped.

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