Compulsory voting and an explicit “none of the above”

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, May 25th, 2014 - 171 comments
Categories: accountability, australian politics, democratic participation, elections, leadership, politicans, Politics - Tags:

I was listening to Wallace Chapman interviewing Professor David Farrell, from University College, Dublin this morning on Radio New Zealand on compulsory voting which he was strongly in favour of. At one point the discussion veered on to the issue of “none of the above”. I think that this is the key to compulsory voting.

Almost everyone I know who doesn’t vote does so for one of two basic reasons.

  • The bastards are all as bad as each other. I call this the anti-vote and it expresses as not voting, spoiling the vote, or always voting against the government (ie the vto option).
  • I don’t know enough to vote.

These are both valid viewpoints as far as I am concerned. I think that they should be options in every vote. Both of them provide an explicit performance measure for all of our political and media establishment about how well they are doing their job.

Lets put them in first and then look at compulsory voting. To force that without an ability for voters to say what they don’t support is daft. Just look at the spoilt votes in aussie politics

171 comments on “Compulsory voting and an explicit “none of the above””

  1. I remember at Auckland Uni the AUSA election ballots always had a “No Vote” and a “No Confidence” option at the bottom. I really liked that, as it gave you the opportunity to signal whether your lack-of-vote was due to just not caring or actual antipathy.

  2. TheContrarian 2

    “Don’t vote, it just encourages the bastards”
    -P. J. O’Rouke

    • lprent 2.1

      As much as I used to like O’Rouke, I also think that in some areas he is a dumb fuckwit. That was one of them. Not voting just allows the worst arseholes into power.

      My preferred punishment for nonvoters is that they get 6 weeks service. Army basic, old folks home, doing scut work for st johns or the police. If they don’t want to, then they get 6 months of work camp working for their food.

      I think not voting in an environment because of what amounts to a fit of childish tantrum in a society where you can change peoples minds peaceably over a lifetime. To be part of a society you carry obligations as well as ‘rights’

      • TheContrarian 2.1.1

        I only take him at face value as a humourous writer. Don’t care for his politics so much

        • felix 2.1.1.1

          I have trouble seeing the funny side of people writing about their horrible beliefs.

          Also have you seem him lately? Was on Maher’s show a while back and the guy is a fucking parsnip.

          • TheContrarian 2.1.1.1.1

            His early work was much better. Parliament of Whores is a classic

            • felix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Here’s a bit of that show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQnSu0DG3Oo

              Yeah he used to be sort of clever at being horrible, in the same sense that people credit Hitler with showmanship.

              Doesn’t seem like his brain’s functioning much these days though.

              • Populuxe1

                Does that stick up your arse hurt when you sit down?

                • swordfish

                  Oh Jesus !, *Populuxe is back for his weekly abuse-the-hell-out-of-everyone therapy session.

                  (Or * deleted * as I prefer to call him. Or, indeed, plain old * deleted *

                  [karol: Hope I got that right – as I understand it, was speculation about a commenters ID. It went over my head the first time I read it, as I didn’t understand the point that was being made]

                  • felix

                    It’s probably best he gets it all out here where no-one takes him too seriously.

                  • Tracey

                    at 3am no less, just to be abusive

                  • Populuxe1

                    Hello. Moderator. Lynn. Anyone?

                    • Populuxe1

                      So that’s ten hours of no moderation

                    • felix

                      You want someone to moderate your own abusive comments? You really are a strange little man.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Oh Fuck off Felix, you know the rules as well as I do – I at least make the effort to keep within them. Twelve hours and no ban hammer

                      [Happy to start. What comment of yours do you want me to censor? – MS]

                    • Populuxe1

                      Are you going to enforce the rule about anonymity or are you going to pursue some personal dislike of me and shit all over any confidence people might have in having their security protected? Either way, I’m not going to cry about it, but I am screencapping as we go 🙂

                    • TheContrarian

                      You’re not “in” enough to be protected under Lynn’s arbitrary enforcement of the rules. Better luck next time.

                      I bet Felix is though – I know his full name. Shall we see?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Good thing I’m not in one of my more suicidal mood swings, but how does it look if you are just going to let people shit all over their anonymity and possibly endanger their careers or personal safety? But hey, if you want a martyr, I’ll give you one.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Yeah Contrarian, you might as well. It will be interesting to see if they can delete it faster than I can screencap it 😀

                      [Karol: I don’t think it was any double standard. I didn’t understand the point – thought it must be some obscure pop culture reference or something. Was probably the same for the mods]

                    • felix

                      lolz TC. Having never concealed it, I imagine lots of people do.

                    • Populuxe1

                      13 hours gone by since The (Double) Standard rule regarding commenter anonymity was violated. Noted and ignored by a moderator. All class guys

                    • TheContrarian

                      I wouldn’t anyway. The reason I know it is because some jackass posted your details (and a link no less) to my quickly aborted blog which I deleted pretty swiftly.

                      Besides, we’ll no doubt run into each other sometime and I don’t want to ruin the fun.

                      [karol: You should know the Standard rules by now on respecting pseudonyms. So it’s not worth trying. Lynn probably hasn’t been by to notice swordfish’s breach above – but flagging it to him now.]

                    • felix

                      That must have been traumatic TC. I hope you got through it ok.

                      Pop, maybe next time you could try saying clearly what you object to. Seems I wasn’t the only one who assumed you were just having one of your tantrums.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “You should know the Standard rules by now on respecting pseudonyms. So it’s not worth trying.”

                      I’m not particularly interested in finding out, nor outing, who anyone is so Lynn can rest easy on his alabaster throne.

                      Felix, the trauma was almost too much to bear.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Gee Felix, I’m not sure how much clearer I need to be than:

                      “Are you going to enforce the rule about anonymity or are you going to pursue some personal dislike of me and shit all over any confidence people might have in having their security protected? Either way, I’m not going to cry about it, but I am screencapping as we go”

                      As for: “You should know the Standard rules by now on respecting pseudonyms. So it’s not worth trying.”

                      Um, yeah, lol. Not remotely ironic.

                    • felix

                      Well for a start you could have pointed to the thing you were complaining about.

                      You might think it was clear but I had no idea what you were on about, and neither did karol, and neither (apparently) did mickysavage.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Which is interesting as I would have scrolled up the thread immediately and Contrarian didn’t have any trouble working it out – is he/she smarter than the rest of you or something? Perhaps I didn’t want to open myself up to more nastiness and speculation than I had to? Hmmm?

                    • felix

                      Guess what, Pop. When you see you own name somewhere you didn’t expect to, it sticks out like the proverbial.

                      To you.

                      To others, not so much. Like karol, I took no notice of swordfish’s comment because I assumed it was some kind of reference or joke that I wasn’t in on.

                      And frankly, it’s not unusual to find you sitting in the middle of a thread throwing toys around and screaming about fuck all.

                      Also yes, TheContrarian is smarter than the rest of us sometimes.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Oh damn, this is one of those awful passive-aggressive fugues where you play silly semantic games and feigned obtuseness until your opponent is so worn down they concede you that last word you so desperately crave, isn’t it? Look, you just have that last word, it’s less wear and tear on my nerves. You are of no real interest to me anyway.

                    • felix

                      Oh no you don’t Pop. You’ve changed your mind about semantics and now you believe that the meaning of words is important.

                      Hours ago, but still…

                      ps it’s not a competition to see who can stop typing first.

                    • Populuxe1

                      You win 🙂 Good night

                    • felix

                      Meh. It’s not the winning and losing Pop, it’s how you play the game.

      • Chooky 2.1.2

        lprent +100…I am all for everyone having to vote and no apathetic, unsociable, irresponsible opt outs…or penalties apply

        …and generally the non voter is a Left voter ….so making voting mandatory will improve the Left vote

        • cricklewood 2.1.2.1

          Or maybe left parties should offer something compelling enough to make them want to vote…

          • Chooky 2.1.2.1.1

            well obviously they dont want to vote NACT!

            …fact is people at the bottom of the heap are so often discouraged and apathetic and negative about their situation that they have gotten into a negative frame of mind and don’t think their vote will make a positive difference to their situation

            • cricklewood 2.1.2.1.1.1

              I do agree with that, but what really did the last Labour govt do for the people on the very bottom? I know they refused beneficiaries Working for Families, didn’t reinstate the previous Nat govts benefit cuts… Hence I could well understand why someone would think voting wont make a positive difference, the very party purporting to represent them seemingly abandoned them when it came to the crunch…

              • Chooky

                @ cricklewood

                well they can vote Mana or the Greens…in fact I probably will myself…but I do wish Labour well under Cunliffe ( he is a good man), just as I did under Helen Clark( she was a good woman and a very competent politician)…it is way better than the alternative NACT…there really is no valid reason for anyone on the Left not to vote

                …but as I say when people get into a negative or unsocial frame of mind they often cant be bothered…hence the need for compulsory voting

          • lprent 2.1.2.1.2

            They could vote “none of the above”, just think what a large vote for that does to any claims of ” mandate”

            • cricklewood 2.1.2.1.2.1

              Sure it is possible that the none of the above vote would be significant enough that no govt could claim a ‘mandate’ but what would it really mean? No significant changes unless a coalition can claim a true mandate? or would it be a slightly meaningless stat used by the opposition to squeal you haven’t got a mandate in parliament day in day out…

            • Gosman 2.1.2.1.2.2

              What would that mean in practical terms though? Wouldn’t that hobble government introducing policies?

            • Polish Pride 2.1.2.1.2.3

              Agreed 100%
              If that were an option, I’d vote.

              As of right now, nope, better things to do with my time. Having a clear understanding of the system and how its very nature stops us from solving the problems we face as a society is not a very strong driver to go out and pick one completely useless party from another as things stand right now.

      • Populuxe1 2.1.3

        At least, unlike Russell Brand, I don’t think O’Rourke was being serious

      • adam 2.1.4

        I don’t agree at all with your argument Iprent. The left has had a strong anarchist tradition. So like all authoritarians you revert to abuse and labels to justify a position?

        I find it morally repulsive to vote in a fake democracy. And no I’m not a being childish or churlish, the fact of the matter is we don’t live in democracy and the best simplest way to oppose it it not to participate. Or would you prefer a more violent approach? I and the majority of anarchist in this country don’t want a violent revolution – we’d like a peaceful one.

        I’d even go further to say the authoritarian left is the corruption which hold the people in check. It is this group who think they are so clever which force so many people to vote for the right. The authoritarian left is a festering sore and blight – they should really just go join the right – they act like them in the end anyway.

      • Richard McGrath 2.1.5

        Rather then this proposed North Korean solution (forced labour camps for non-voters) from lprent, perhaps seats in parliament could be left empty in proportion to the proportion of non-votes. With a 74% turnout in 2011, we would then have 31 empty seats, saving tax slaves a fortune in salaries and perks.

        • lprent 2.1.5.1

          Still means that there is absolutely no representation for those who currently aren’t voting. It reduces real democracy.

          But it is a cost-saving measure worthy of a idiot from north korean, a nation well known for their cost-saving ways of political representation. Perhaps you return there.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.5.1.1

            North Korea: you can save a public oficial’s salary by investing 10c in a bullet for said public official.

          • Richard McGrath 2.1.5.1.2

            Never been there, unlike the useful idiot Morgan.

          • Richard McGrath 2.1.5.1.3

            What is the point of democracy when it results in less freedom and more government interference in our lives? Why should the turkey vote for Christmas?

            • McFlock 2.1.5.1.3.1

              less freedom?
              It’s a vote. Every three years.

            • lprent 2.1.5.1.3.2

              As I always say. What freedom? The freedom to starve? Societies aren’t based on freedom. They are based on cooperation and shared responsibilities. Complex societies are required to keep more than a fraction of our current population alive

              Fools who start wanking on about “freedom” are usually noticeable for three things in my opinion.

              1. They are noticeable for their lack of thought on the subject – specifically they invariably want to just make the rules to only free themselves of responsibilities.
              2. They never consider the consequences beyond the second cumming.

              3. Invariably they are personally selfish, usually narcissistic, and notable for their inability to empathise with other people.

              Been near a mirror lately? I suspect it shows a nasacisstic arsehole.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      The Election

    • Awww 2.3

      Oh pa-leeze. Stop pretending to be powerless to change things.
      Voting is the only way out of this mess.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    These are both valid viewpoints as far as I am concerned. I think that they should be options in every vote…Lets put them in first and then look at compulsory voting.

    Yep. Give people real options to express themselves more fully and accurately, not just compulsarily forcing them to check tick boxes which do not actually represent their views.

    • Populuxe1 3.1

      Or, you know, stop creating a political elite through public apathy and actually get involved in the political process by joining a party, instigating referenda, submitting policy remits and so forth.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I think you just suggested that the way to stop being apathetic and politically disengaged is to not be apathetic and politically disengaged.

        • Populuxe1 3.1.1.1

          Which one can do and still vote – they are not mutually exclusive scenarios and most effective when used together

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    TBH, I don’t really the see any point in including an official ‘no confidence’ option.

    What does it achieve? A vote isn’t a census, or an opinion poll, it’s a vote.

    If we are going to make it compulsory, (which I’m not convinced we should), then including a non-vote option completely misses the point.

    What changes if ‘non-vote votes’ register 10%, 20% or 30%? Nothing. So what exactly is the point?

    If the answer is ‘signalling my disaffection’ then that is also captured by just not voting, or spoiling the ballot, or protest voting; the tried and true methods.

    • The distinction is – as with the AUSA ballots I mentioned above – having an explicit “no vote” or “no confidence” option does allow us more certainty about the numbers of non-voting people.

      It’s similar to the way people are now paying more attention to the “undecided” category in poll results. If 20% of the population come out to tick “no vote” on election day it seriously undermines the “we have a mandate to do x, y and z” narrative of the subsequently-elected government (whoever that is).

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      PB – political parties should become very afraid if a quarter million people start turning up at the polls just to vote “none of the above.” It states very clearly to the entrenched parties that if you don’t start listening to the electorate and start delivering something quite different, there is room there for other parties to come in and take those votes.

      What changes if ‘non-vote votes’ register 10%, 20% or 30%? Nothing. So what exactly is the point?

      A quarter million no confidence votes is significant pressure for change. Any major political party ignores a message like that at their own peril.

      Also, what SR said about undermining the mandate of any given government to take extremist positions like selling off assets etc.

      • Tamati 4.2.1

        In the AUSA election No confidence always polls extremely well and it doesn’t seem to change much. AUSA’s membership keeps slipping despite membership being free. It’s basically used as a CV filler for wannabe Labour politicians.

      • karol 4.2.2

        How long before parties try to get an advantage by chasing the “none-of-these” vote?

    • Populuxe1 4.3

      Because a vote of no confidence can be counted as that, not as a vote in favour of the remaining majority. New Zealand probably needs it less than the UK or the US who really need to be forcibly pushed into MMP

      • Pascal's bookie 4.3.1

        How is it ‘counted as that’?

        If the opposition plus the no confidence vote is higher than the govt vote, what happens?

        Nothing, that’s what. The ‘no confidence’ votes don’t count, they are irrelevant.

        So in what actual sense do these votes ‘count’?

        • Populuxe1 4.3.1.1

          Because it’s there – a big fat pile of votes against all options suggesting that something is very wrong. Far more useful than just not voting at all.

          • Pascal's bookie 4.3.1.1.1

            But those votes are there anyway, in the ‘did not vote’ pile which is published under ‘turnout’.

            An election is not an opinion poll. Votes matter, and votes for ‘none of the above’, or ‘no confidence’ need to mean something if they are to be counted. Otherwise there is no point in having them. They cheapen the process. If people want to not vote, then that is their option. If there is nothing for them to vote for, then they can stand and vote for themselves. It’s the system.

            Would voted non-votes count towards what, exactly? The MMP list calculation? How would that work, and would it achieve anything good?

    • Pascal's bookie 4.4

      Not seeing anyone actually say what difference a strong ‘non-vote’ would make.

      The idea that is there is a strong non vote, it would encourage new parties to go after them, doesn’t work. You don’t know why these people are voting no confidence anymore than you know why people don’t vote now. The things you need to do to appeal to them are just the same, and they aren’t happening.

      You can’t count them as for or against a mandate, because they have explicitly opted out. All you know is that nothing on offer appeals to them, for some reason or another, and you already know that.

      These aren’t undecided’s, they have decided ‘no’, and if that’s legitimate, then the answer is voluntary voting, not forcing them to vote ‘one of the above’.

  5. BM 5

    With compulsory voting we’ll just end up with parties pitching stupid policies at stupid people.

    If you’re that disinterested or don’t give a fuck about politics then the best thing you can do is not to vote.

    The option of “none of the above” is good though.

    • fender 5.1

      “With compulsory voting we’ll just end up with parties pitching stupid policies at stupid people.”

      National and Act already cover this niche…

      • BM 5.1.1

        What a surprise.

        WFF, Interest free student loans,gold card, what great policies those were.

        How would you feel if a guy like Nigel Farage set up shop in NZ and we had compulsory voting?

        • Naturesong 5.1.1.1

          Big tick to these “Interest free student loans,gold card”

          WFF corporate welfare, not so much.

          The market solution of ensuring that Labour Unions have as much negotiating power as Capital would have been a much better solution.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            Remembering that student loans are only necessary because of exorbitant tertiary fees, and are a driver for qualified young NZers to piss off out of the country long term.

            • Naturesong 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, Free Education would be prefereable.

              Imagine the number of people who would have been able to reskill themselves after the corporate retrenchment caused by the GFC

        • fender 5.1.1.2

          What a surprise rort…

          Charter schools, asset sales theft , environmental destruction..

          Compulsory voting doesn’t guarantee the likes of Farage Colin Craig any power.

        • Tracey 5.1.1.3

          how many of those did nact get rid of bm?

          • BM 5.1.1.3.1

            You can’t without being turfed out at the next election, that’s the problem.

            People in NZ now expect hand outs, even people that don’t need them.

            The mentality these days is

            “They’re being given money, where’s mine?”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      With compulsory voting we’ll just end up with parties pitching stupid policies at stupid people.

      We already have them and they’re presently in government.

  6. Watching 6

    the issue of “none of the above”. I think that this is the key to compulsory voting.

    The second key is to make the ‘none of the above’ vote mean something. Otherwise this will become a one election thing.

    By this I mean if ‘none of the above’ get say get 10% of the vote then this should translate into seats – therefore 12 seats will be remain unallocated or unfilled. For compulsory voting to work a none of the above must have the same voting influence as a labour, greens or Nats vote.

    I do like the idea of compulsory voting but have never supported the view that you must vote for one of the parties standing.

    • dv 6.1

      AND none of the above generates a
      A new election in a year for the places left vacant as watching suggests.

    • mikesh 6.2

      “By this I mean if ‘none of the above’ get say get 10% of the vote then this should translate into seats – therefore 12 seats will be remain unallocated or unfilled.”

      If the number of “none of the above”s is large enough the above suggestion may leave insufficient room for list seats and the system would therefore become a de facto FPP system.

      • Tamati 6.2.1

        In ancient Greece (or Rome or some other ancient civilization), people could choose to vote “none of the above”. The proportion of votes for “none of the above” would then be filled by a random ballot of ordinary citizens. So here, if 10% vote none of the above, twelve random citizens are elected to parliament for the next three years. Food for thought.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1

          I could go with that.

          • Tamati 6.2.1.1.1

            We could even go a step further where those who don’t vote on election day are assumed to have voted “none of the above”. This would mean the 35% who didn’t vote would be represented by random citizens. It would also give all major parties the motivation to make non-voters vote.

            • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1.1.1

              The MMP threshold of 5% would need to be significantly dropped for any of this to work.

              Also I wouldn’t go with “random citizens.” There would need to be some kind of vetting, and people would need to put their name forward as interested in being an independent candidate.

              • Tamati

                Why the vetting? I’d be happy with just an opt out. It could be seen as sort of a super jury duty. The citizens should be as ordinary as possible.

                Dropping the MMP threshold would probably make it fairer though.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Many reasons for the vetting, including taking out those who would be excluded by electoral law, and also those who have no wish to be an MP or be involved in politics.

                  • Tamati

                    The whole strength of a ballot system is you include those who aren’t interested or involved in politics. They’re there to represent those who don’t give a fuck about politics.

                    Maybe a simple literacy test.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sorry, but making people do a high profile public job that they don’t want to do, or forcing them to be in Wellington far away from their young kids when they don’t want to be, is going to end up a total fail.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “Sorry, but making people do a high profile public job that they don’t want to do, or forcing them to be in Wellington far away from their young kids when they don’t want to be, is going to end up a total fail.”

                      But that’s the idea, changing it to count non-votes as votes for a self selected group of candidates would be an even bigger stupid idea.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So let’s run a txt-in competition. Top 3 ways to turn your democracy from being an occasional laughing stock and plutocracy, into a continuous and farcical one.

                    • Tamati

                      It could have similar screening process to jury duty. As I said before, one of the advantages is that it would give all parties reason to encourage people to vote.

        • Stuart Munro 6.2.1.2

          I liked the Greek ostraka rule – you could banish one politician every election.

          The problem is one might not be enough.

          • Tamati 6.2.1.2.1

            Yes, I would be firmly in favour of Ostracism. Cya, Winston.

            • Populuxe1 6.2.1.2.1.1

              If you think Winston is worse than just about any of the NACT crew, you are deluded

  7. Dave Rutherford 7

    I would strongly support compulsory voting, with some sort of no confidence, or none of the above option.Would also like to see a threshold/ mechanism that invalidates the result if the no confidence vote meets it. Under the current system, there is no penalty to the parties that profit from disengagement.

  8. minarch 8

    politicians are like seagulls….

    If you keep on feeding them they will continue to come back and shit all over you deck ….

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Or it can simply mean that “I’m too lazy and cynical to inform myself about politics and rather than discharge my responsibilities and duty as a citizen of this country to vote with care and intention – I’m going to spout some smart-arse aphorism and pretend how clever I am”.

      I think that about covers it.

      • minarch 8.1.1

        I never said I didnt vote…

        • Populuxe1 8.1.1.1

          Voting isn’t very Minarchist of you. I assume you either vote ACT or piss it away on LibertariaNZ, though now you have the third shit fedora-wearing neckbeard fanboy option of the Internet Party.

          • minarch 8.1.1.1.1

            your making some pretty big assumptions there based on 7 letters,

            you shouldn’t, cos it can make you look like a f++cking clown……

            or just a miserable c””t, take your pick ?

  9. minarch 9

    how about the American system of a “write in” option ?

  10. Disraeli Gladstone 10

    I’ve never missed an election and probably never will, but the idea of compulsory voting just seems wrong to me. I very much see the right to vote as just a right. There’s no corresponding obligation or civic duty beyond the obligation of not to infringe upon someone else’s right to vote.

    And I would say there are some good arguments in favour of compulsory voting, but then you look at the countries that do use it and these advantages aren’t really seen.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      I very much see the right to vote as just a right.

      Which is wrong – it’s very much a responsibility.

      • Tamati 10.1.1

        Is it though? Sure society is better off if more people vote, but those who don’t vote are only causing themselves harm.

        In a pure self centered sense, an single vote isn’t going to make a difference. I don’t think there has ever going to an election which was decided by a single vote. Even Bush in 2000 won by around 500 votes. So when people say my single vote won’t change anything, they’re technically correct.

        What we need to do is give people a reason to actually turn up on polling day. The Aussies have sausage sizzles and bake sales and the like, all going to charity. I’m sure hiring a few bouncy castles would also drive a few extras to the polls. Little things like this might actually make a difference.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1

          but those who don’t vote are only causing themselves harm.

          Nope. Those who didn’t vote last election have caused NZ quite a bit of harm through allowing a radical right-wing government in that has sold of our assets and out us deeply in debt.

          So when people say my single vote won’t change anything, they’re technically correct.

          Voting and democracy are a community action and so it’s really not about single votes. That said, if a few more people had voted in Waitakere last election we wouldn’t have had Paula Bennett in that seat.

          What we need to do is give people a reason to actually turn up on polling day. The Aussies have sausage sizzles and bake sales and the like, all going to charity. I’m sure hiring a few bouncy castles would also drive a few extras to the polls. Little things like this might actually make a difference.

          Perhaps but then such things will probably drive some people away as well.

          • Tamati 10.1.1.1.1

            Who would be driven away by a sausage sizzle and a bouncy castle? We could even have (non-political) bands or concerts.

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Who would be driven away by a sausage sizzle and a bouncy castle?

              People who really hate them, people who just don’t want to deal with the extra noise and hassle that they represent.

              I find it amazingly ignorant that some people just assume that everyone will agree with what they see as a Good Thing.

              • Tamati

                Well, for the 1% who really hate sausage sizzles or bouncy castles then some polling places could be left as they are.

              • Populuxe1

                I find it amazingly ignorant that some people just assume that everyone is is twisted, miserable, antisocial and/or otherwise mentally and emotionally fucked up as they are and that the rest of us should pander to that as though it were normal or indeed cared.

                • felix

                  But Draco didn’t assume that. Quite the opposite in fact.

                  Tamati made the assumption that ALL people like sausages and bouncy castles. Draco pointed out that SOME people don’t.

                  Then you accuse Draco of saying NO-ONE likes sausages and castles, which he simply didn’t do at all.

                  Before you get angry and embarrass yourself, go back and read the chain of events again, slowly. Look for key words like “everyone” and examine them in context to determine the meaning.

                  Then politely apologise to Draco for the misrepresentation and leave quietly.

            • Richard McGrath 10.1.1.1.1.2

              I think someone should set up the Polling Booth Party. It would stop the Electoral Commission from putting up those signs saying “Polling Booth”, as that would constitute advertising on election day…

      • Disraeli Gladstone 10.1.2

        [citation needed]

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2.1

          You’re part of a community as thus you should act as part of that community.

  11. Thomas 11

    If “none of the above” wins, either the seat should be vacant or a by election should happen with new candidates.

  12. Foreign Waka 12

    If people don’t vote, then they have given their right away to affect change. Anyone who disagrees with the main parties could always vote for that party that he/she agrees in some points. There is no such thing as a perfect world. Get used to it and change it with baby steps. But under no circumstance give up the right to vote that has been fought for and paid for with so many lives. These are the fallen NZlanders everybody thinks of at ANZAC day, WW1 veterans etc….Its all hallow if people throw it on the heap because, oooch auchhh no provision for the favorite toy…

  13. millsy 13

    We wouldn’t need mandatory voting if we just had decent candidates and policies to vote for.

  14. McGrath 14

    What about those who simply cannot be bothered to vote regardless?

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Incremental steps first…if we can get a voting turnout around 85% we will be amongst the OECD best.

  15. Philj 15

    xox
    In the ‘market’ I suggest giving all voters $5 to vote.hahaha

    • Chooky 15.1

      Philj…now you are talking…how about $20?

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        It’s just a really bad precedent to be handing out money at voting booths.

        • Chooky 15.1.1.1

          well I am sure John Key and right wingers with too much money would agree with you….but beneficiaries and the hard up would be happy to take the money!…it might pay their bus fare and a cup of coffee or tea

  16. greywarbler 16

    Here is a flash mob with Ode to Joy.

    It would be joy if we could get people to take an interest in politics and what is being done to them and for them. How about some flash mob voting street theatre. How about in the month before the elctions there are flash mobs performing all over NZ with a get out and vote for your country message.

    I am all for compulsory voting, with bells on as suggested. But for goodness sake don’t any progressive person say not to do it. I am sick of hearing how we can’t won’t needn’t do something about the things ahead of us. We can’t move on on so many things. We can’t even decide to do something about problems around for a long time, and are determinedly retreating from the problems of the now, near future and medium future, we don’t care or dare to look too far ahead.

    Let’s give compulsory voting a try, someone suggested over two elections then a confirmation, change or drop. We must have the extras that people here have suggested to make it as fair as possible. It may be just an exercise to make people go to the voting booths (which I endorse rather than on-line) but you have to get them started thinking and doing. We are all drop outs in managing our country sensibly, and I know that will annoy some people, but we would not have the present situation if we had been more aware and active years ago.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Why are you forcing people to vote for MPs whom they feel don’t listen to and address their day to day concerns and anxieties?

      • Chooky 16.1.1

        ….why should we fill in the national census every few years?……everyone has to answer the national census …so why not every New Zealander has to vote?

        …even if once they get into the box they vote “No Confidence”…it is still a civic duty for New Zealanders to have a say on the governance of New Zealand

        ( Only the right wing dont want the left non voters to vote).

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1

          The foundations for a nation-wide census were put in place in England a thousand years ago well before anyone got the vote.

        • Mike S 16.1.1.2

          In the census I give all the information they require for the statistical data they are collecting. However I don’t give my name, ph number, etc as I fail to see why these are required. I also don’t sign the form. I’ve never had someone come back and tell me to fill it out completely.

      • greywarbler 16.1.2

        Cv
        Because they need to react to that and try for something better not sink into apathy, anger, not vandalise what other people have and are trying to do which is what many disaffected people end up doing especially young males., People should have the opportunity to say none of the above if they can see no other reasonable choice but they need to make their voices heard, show that they are very dissatisfied, that they are still thinking and not just accepting what is being offered, or being badly governed or trodden on.

        • greywarbler 16.1.2.1

          CV
          Sanctuary in Open mike 26/5 No.3 has something on the disaffected being drawn to the far right apparently. I haven’t read it yet – no time at present. But this is the sort of thing that was in my mind that getting people to vote would help diminish. Keeping people in mind when elections show significant numbers disaffected would take the sting out of numbers of people being drawn to such parties. And would also keep track of numbers so as to assess the number of potential firebrands.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.2

          People should have the opportunity to say none of the above if they can see no other reasonable choice but they need to make their voices heard, show that they are very dissatisfied,

          Yes they should have the opportunity to say “none of the above” but forcing them to vote is another matter entirely. These are also people who have often been done over by the system, WINZ staff telling them you must do this you must do that or there will be consequences, ACC staff telling them you must do this you must do that or there will be consequences, now you want to add yet another to that line ‘for their own good.’

  17. greywarbler 17

    Here’s another rousing song on you tube – About people rising and not going to put up with it – whatever.

  18. Mike S 18

    Compulsory voting in a supposedly free country is a ridiculous suggestion.

    For a start, how would you police it? To enrol as a voter you have to sign a form. Under law, nobody can be forced to sign something they do not wish to sign as that would make it an invalid contract. One of the rules of contracts is that the parties involved must willingly of their own free will agree to the contract. You can’t send someone to jail for refusing to sign a document, that’s the sort of thing that happens in military dictatorships, not in social democracies. That aside, how would the ‘authorities’ even identify non enrolled people? (Maybe send the voting police around to every single house in the country to flush out non-voters)

    A vote under duress is not a vote.

    Why not just make it so that every non vote is automatically a vote for ‘none of the above’?

    This is the sort of crazy idea that makes the left look unpalatable.

    If you want people to vote then give them something or someone they want to jump up off the couch and vote for FFS!

    Convince them to vote, don’t force them.

    • Chooky 18.1

      in Australia it is compulsory to vote( and I think a fine if you dont vote)….doesnt seem to have hurt the Aussies or their democracy ( except the fools voted in Abbott the Bot Fly)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_system_of_Australia

    • greywarbler 18.2

      Mike S
      Don’t be a fool. Talking about a supposedly free country. There is in reality no such thing and can never be. There are rules that we have to obey so that we can live together, and run our society fairly efficiently, we aim for as much freedom as possible, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be coerced where necessary. Do try and think and not spout out slogans that are popular amongst the loose lipped, loose minded.

      • Mike S 18.2.1

        The only thing foolish Greywarbler is trying to force people to vote. Forcing people to do anything is a surefire way to lose votes.

    • Francis 18.3

      Isn’t it already a legal requirement for every New Zealander to be on the electoral roll?

  19. Chooky 19

    Martyn Bradbury on lifting voter participation:

    “5 ways to immediately lift voter participation in NZ elections”

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/05/25/5-ways-to-immediately-lift-voter-participation-in-nz-elections/

    • Populuxe1 19.1

      You forgot letting everyone who votes kick Bradbury in the balls. That would do wonders.

      • Chooky 19.1.1

        that is very unsociable of you Pop!

        • Gosman 19.1.1.1

          But an effective inducement nonetheless. I myself would vote numerous times given the opportunity and that incentive.

          • felix 19.1.1.1.1

            I would consider posing as a non-voter in order to be eligible for the inducement.

      • thecard 19.1.2

        I don’t agree with your Winston liking policy but I am all in favour of your kick Bradbury in the balls to increase voter turnout policy.

  20. swordfish 20

    Two points:

    (1) I didn’t vote in 2005. Not because I’m lazy or couldn’t be bothered or was alienated or drunk or confused, but because we were off to the UK / Europe on the day that early voting opened and didn’t have time. And yet for that relatively minor sin, Mr Prentice would apparently have me in Boot Camp for the rest of my natural. Seems just a tad unfair.

    (2) A Research New Zealand Poll late last year found 56% supported Compulsory Voting with 42% against. Support was particularly strong among Older New Zealanders (aged 55 +) (64%), among Maori and Pasifikas (66%), and among the middle income (68%)……http://www.researchnz.com/pdf/Media%20Releases/RNZ%20Media%20Release%20-%20Compulsory%20voting.pdf

  21. Not a PS Staffer 21

    An alternative to compulsion is a strong incentive.

    Hand everyone a coupon for a PINT when they have cast their vote.

    QED.

  22. Increasing inequality, secret trade and military deals, spying on the citizenry, money for access and no accountability for the corrupt amongst our politicians.

    This is what a Princeton University study concluded for the US: No influence can be exercised by the 99 % and politicians are only there as a puppet show to placate the masses while gorging themselves at the trough.

    I put it to you that NZ is not that far behind in the 1% takeover coup and the people hereapparently are not stupid. They know they are being screwed by their government and they are walking away from a system that isn’t working for them. I actually think that the people here have spoken loud and clear. Why fucking bother, they’re not listening anyway. Can’t say I blame them. And I have made a point of voting every single election I was eligible to vote in with the same tenasity Iprent still thinks we should vote.

    This year I have for the first time in my life decided that I will not do so. Let the bastards win and let them do their worst, maybe then the docile, mistakenly thinking they are part of the 1%, zombies will finally realize they have been had. Nothing like a revolution to freshen things up. The effect of the one in Holland some 355 years ago only recently started wane.

    • Gosman 22.1

      While I thank you for your decision to not vote this election might I enquire why you don’t vote Mana?

    • Chooky 22.2

      @Travellerev

      Thomas Piketty , ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ would agree with you about the revolution potential

      http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674430006

      Personally i would prefer it didnt come to this….people have fought long and hard for the vote , especially women, minorities and non-property owners….so they must vote and vote wisely!

      • aerobubble 22.2.1

        The problem is historically when the amount of calls on wealth (money) are many many times the ability of the society to provide that value in goods and services, the army/police are pressed into action to seize as much wealth as possible for the rich. And it has nothing to do with what you would prefer did or did not happen, and everything to do with how you traded in liberty for complacency. i.e. asset sales of dams was a crime against NZ, climate inaction is a crime against our planet… …the list is long, but in essence the only economic crimes we as a society deal to our crimes to profit.

        As to the context. As an Australian, the compulsory system coupled with the proportional system delivers everything party hacks could wish for to continue ignoring the citizens and embracing party tuft wars. Abbott would not be PM under any other democracy system. The OZ democracy is sham, people who do not know shouldn’t be forced to. People who are then ask to vote for someone very likely they never would want, that’s the way it works, you number the politicians and eventually one of the detestable ones gets all the flow on votes too win. i.e. the system is as equally like to vote for the common likeable candidate (rare as they don’t get nominated) as the most commonly detested one.

      • Rosie 22.2.2

        +1 Chooky.

  23. Rosie 23

    Every time I hear the word “compulsory” I cringe. To me compulsory represents authoritarianism and an assumption that adults aren’t capable of thinking for themselves.

    However, in regard to voting, adding in the “none of the above” and “I don’t know” options is genius.

    With this system people are not in the senseless position that the Aussies are in, as aerobubble points out above, but they are compelled to participate, even if it amounts to an anti vote. What an excellent way to monitor public dissatisfaction or lack of basic political knowledge.

    The non party voting voters may encourage parties to think carefully about where they could do better or what they need to do to reach people to educate them.

    Bring on compulsory voting with non voting options!

    • bad12 23.1

      Rosie, i find the negative attitude to compulsory voting as expressed by many including you a bit perplexing,

      Reverse up just one step in the democratic process and what do you find, Compulsion, you are required by Law to be a registered voter,

      While not entirely opposed on first thought to an option of ”i choose to vote for none of these people or parties, my second thought is ”do we really want to make even more of a mockery of the democratic process and the Parliament than it already in some quarters is”

      i would much more prefer that all ballots were run through a data base to find those who (a) did not vote and (b)those who failed to even register, fine them all a suitable amount along with a community service sentence of attending a series of lectures on why the should vote paid for with the monies from the fines…

      • Rosie 23.1.1

        Horror of horrors. My epic reply to you has been lost……………

        • Rosie 23.1.1.1

          I’ll start again………….

          Thanks for the reply on open mike re self deprecation……….

          It’s compulsory anything I’m opposed to, not just voting. (maybe this arises from my oppressive upbringing and when I hear “you must do as I say”, I put the brakes on, who knows!)

          One of the appealing things about the two “no vote” options is that it is a perfect way of monitoring the disenchanted and targeting them for education, (seeing the importance of their vote to start with) and the parties can learn from their disaffection as well.

          Punishment will not engage the non voters and it won’t create a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the democratic process, it will only make them resentful. It’s that authoritarian BS all over again, and punishment only serves the ones meting it out.

          Half the folks I know are non voters and it pisses me off no end. No amount of reasoning and persuasion will move them (except for one young friend in the Hutt South electorate).

          If the population were compelled to vote, even if that were a No Vote option they ticked, it would be the beginning of participation for them and it would hopefully trigger to the start of their learning, just by being there in the hall with everyone. That’s half the battle, getting them to that point.

          In the meantime the young un’s are doing something about low youth enrolment and voting:

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10081413/Rocking-the-youth-vote

          • karol 23.1.1.1.1

            Actually, I think it’s not just about non-voting. It’s a wider issue than that. I have talked to some people who are just not interested in following politics – they can’t understand why I do. They seem to be saying there are more interesting things to do.

            • Rosie 23.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, I hear that too karol, from more people than I’d like too. I think, perhaps they just don’t understand that they ARE “politics” because they are members of society and the part they play, ie, voting is hugely important.

              I can understand that many people wouldn’t be interested in following politics, but they don’t need to follow it day to day and it doesn’t need to be at the top of their agenda – and I think some people get scared by the idea of “politics” in case they are expected to enter into a complicated theoretical argument at any random point in time.

              I wonder if there is an element of apprehension as well as indifference around voting.

          • Mike S 23.1.1.1.2

            “One of the appealing things about the two “no vote” options is that it is a perfect way of monitoring the disenchanted and targeting them for education”

            Can you not read your post again and see how the sentence above might turn people away or even scare them off.??

            Here’s a clue… The words “monitoring”, “targeting” and “education”.

            • Rosie 23.1.1.1.2.1

              Mike, it wouldn’t be the non voting individuals being targeted as such, it’s not some totalitarian democracy boot camp I’m talking about.

              Say for example, if we were to go ahead with such a voting system we would look at patterns. Are there areas that have a lower party vote rate than others, are the non vote rates changing from election to election? That is monitoring.

              You might look at how to address the issue of non voting. Eg, those area’s that have really low rates of voting, maybe they could have some form of non compulsory free adult community education around how participating in democracy benefits the individual and the community at large.

              Maybe Civics could be taught at schools and subsequent elections would look at if that form of education increased voting rates.

              I don’t see anything sinister in the words monitoring, targeting and education.

              You may not think our low voter turn out rate is a worry. I do and we need to at least look at ways to improve it. Doing nothing isn’t going to help.

      • Mike S 23.1.2

        And how would this database of yours identify these people who didn’t register? As per a previous post, under law, you can’t force someone to sign anything they don’t wish to sign, so if someone choses not to sign the enrolment form thereby not enroling themselves, there’s not alot you can do. Hence the probably small, (if any) number of people who have received fines for not enrolling to vote.

        That aside, you want to force people to vote for a party or candidate who’s policies and ideology they disagree with? If that’s your mindset then why have any votes at all, why not just have a dictatorship.

        The fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have not benefitted or been catered for or listened to in the last 30 years regardless of which party or parties are in power and regardless of which type of electoral system is in place. These people don’t vote because they are fully aware that their vote makes no difference to their circumstances whatsoever. Fining them for not voting will simply make them worse off and more anti system.

    • Pascal's bookie 23.2

      “What an excellent way to monitor public dissatisfaction or lack of basic political knowledge.”

      We already know there are loads of people who don’t vote via turnout, this teaches us nothing, unless we dig into it and check to see ‘who’ cast a ‘nonvote’, which would be abhorrent.

      A vote in an election is not an opinion poll where they ask your reckon on stuff and they see what we collectively think and agree to go along with it, it is an act of right.

      If people don;t know what they want, or don’t care for the options, then not voting is legit, as is standing themslves.

      There is something icky about no confidence, it signals that voters are passive to the options. ‘This or nothing’, just a further subtle entrenchment of the political class.

  24. jj 24

    ‘If voting changed anything they wouldn’t let us do it’ – Some one

    The state serves the economy/capital, not the other way around – doesn’t make a blind bit of difference which class enemy is steering the boat (titanic?).

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