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Early heavy voting in Northland continues

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, March 25th, 2015 - 28 comments
Categories: by-election, elections, winston peters - Tags: , , , ,

The heavy voting in Northland that we pointed out last week is continuing. Its cumulative total as at yesterday at just under 7809 votes is close to double that in the 2014 election when it was about 4387 at the same time in the lead up to the election. Have a look at this page for details.

Early voting in northland 24th

In 2014, Northland had 35,707 votes counted. About 9478 of those were early votes. The majority of those (5091) were collected in the last 3 days.

If we just assume that the numbers of early votes just remain the same as those in 2014 for the final 3 days of the campaign (a safe bet based on the graph above), then we’d expect something like 13,000 early votes. If the total vote remains similar to the last election, then we’d expect between 35-40% of the vote to have come from early voting. If the election day turnout is less than normal as one would expect in a by-election, then we may easily see early voting to be more than half of the votes.

Sure there is a lot of interest in this particular by-election. The cloud hanging over the unanswered questions in the resignation of National’s previous candidate and MP Mike Sabin for what John Key described as “personal and family reasons” has lead to a lot of speculation in Northland about what exactly those reasons were.  But National’s promotion of Mike Sabin’s treasurer as the hapless and possibly also tainted candidate against Winston Peters and Willow Jean Prime hasn’t exactly been a success either.

Listen to Osbourne making an arse of himself as he parrots Steven Joyce in Morning Report today.

[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20150325-0816-northland_candiates_debate_main_issues_before_vote-048.mp3]

Having this kind of a fight for the vote will push up the turnout, but it is a by-election with those traditionally low turnouts. So I’m picking that we’re likely to see the majority of the vote coming from early voting this time around.

So is this a sign of the future? In 2014 the total early votes across NZ were 630,775 or about 26% of votes. In 2011 it was 287,104 or about 13% of votes. In this by-election are we going to see a continuation of the every increasing power of the early vote?

If we are, what does this mean for the 2017 election? Certainly electioneering strategies are going to have to change when the votes are counted for 2 weeks prior to election day.

28 comments on “Early heavy voting in Northland continues”

  1. Atiawa 1

    Unfortunately early voting hasn’t contributed to greater voter turnout. Known voters are simply exercising their democratic rights at their convenience.
    Good points however, and if voting isn’t going to be compulsory we should be ensuring that every eligible voter has the best possible opportunity to cast their vote. So how about mobile voting booths whereby they rock up to a heavily populated industrial site, for example, for a couple or so hours and workers can use the opportunity to vote.
    A controversial referendum would also be useful at the same time, say, “that the possession for personal use of 5 grams of marijuana is not a criminal offense”.
    That might stir a few 100 thousand of the non voters into action.

  2. Pasupial 2

    An important factor behind the elevated vote in the Northland byelection is that there will be no out of electorate polling booths (as there are in a general election). So anyone who will be out of Northland on Saturday has to advance vote.

    Advance voting was certainly a focus in the last election (for the GP and IMPs anyway). It is only likely to become more so, as the stats are factored into electioneering strategies. The fact that an advance vote is one locked in for the election regardless of any last week; deals, news, or propaganda, is most important. The only downside of an advance vote is if the voter changes their mind, or forgets, and casts a ballot on the day thus voiding both.

    Also; the lack of scrutineers during advance voting is a cause for concern (they can be there, but in practice aren’t – as it’s all hands on deck at this point of the election). If you’re in Northland and want to contribute to the election, but can’t endure the stress of doorknocking or street pampleting, then consider volunteering as a scrutineer. It’s not glamorous, but it is an essential check on the electoral process.

    • lprent 2.1

      So anyone who will be out of Northland on Saturday has to advance vote.

      That is a *lot* of people (say 50% of the electorate) anticipating using those roads 🙂

      • Pasupial 2.1.1

        I said that it was; “An important factor”, not; the sole determining factor. If we look at the 2014 general election stats for Northland Party Vote:

        http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/e9/html/e9_part8_party_35.html

        Then we see that for the; 9793 Ordinary Votes BEFORE polling day, there were; 986 Special Votes BEFORE polling day, 1713 Special Votes ON polling day, & 410 Overseas Special Votes. Why this doesn’t match the 9478 advance votes, I couldn’t tell you (the difference between the; combined Before, and the; Advance votes, is 1301 – which is certainly nontrivial).

        http://www.elections.org.nz/events/2015-northland-election-0/northland-advance-voting-statistics

        In any case; Special, plus Overseas, votes equal 32% of the; Ordinary Votes BEFORE polling day. Not all of these Specials will be due to out of electorate voting of course.

        I fully agree that the turnout for this byelection is unlikely to reach that of the 2014 GE, which just makes the increase in Advance Voting even more noteworthy.

  3. Ad 3

    If it is a close or negative vote for National, the inevitable retrospective questions will come on Minister Bridges for failing to have evidence for his bridge investment decisions – he will bear a fair hit for his part in it all.

    Blowback is coming.

  4. Skinny 4

    I think I will do my bit by making up a sign;

    Do you know why Mike Sabin resigned? Why weren’t you told before you vote. You would be horrified to know why.

    And standing outside one of the Tory strong hold booths.

    Any other suggestions for signs for others?

    • mary_a 4.1

      Hi Skinny

      John Key is going up to Northland later this week, for one last push, for all the good it will do. So you (and friends etc) could always hold up signs displaying the one finger salute in front of him, wherever he’s making an appearance. It might jog his memory of his common gesture to Kiwis!

      • Skinny 4.1.1

        Yes we will be excising our democratic right to voice our disgust via a loud hailer and placards about him and his party not being transparent about the resignation of their former MP. We will be the ones doing the last push, let’s call it a little food for thought, pork barrel style giving the voters our menu of treats. Just how Key and Joyce like to play. Remember over 60% of their own supporters thought National should have told them what was up.

    • Rosie 4.2

      Skinny, are you planning on doing this on Saturday? If so, would there be anything about your signage that would potentially breach the electoral rules around either promoting or discouraging voting for a particular candidate?

      Just wondering.

      Secondly, you say they (the voters) would be horrified to know why. (Sabin resigned) Do you know why?

      Are you able to tell us? Or would that be unwise in case such information comes back to bite TS on the bum in a very grumpy legal way?

      All serious questions.

      [lprent: Yes, if what I have been told is correct, then it would almost certainly come back and bite us on the arse. It can’t be mentioned here.

      One of the hassles with suppression orders is that they often suppress the information that is required to conform to the suppression. As far as I can tell there is no mechanism to inform someone like me or the moderators about what is actually suppressed. Damn nuisance for operating a internet site. ]

      • Skinny 4.2.1

        Yes I have lawyer friends, and no I would not comment on here or anywhere else on the net. A justice lawyer friend has briefed us on how you can talk publicly about it without much action being taken against us. However out of respect to others ‘apart from Sabin’ we shall focus on timelines that is disputed by Key, Osborne and other Nat’s.

        • Rosie 4.2.1.1

          Ok. Good luck with your campaigning Skinny, and respect to you for being respectful of others. You still have enough to go on, with the timelines. That will make even the daftest Tory stop and think about the devious behaviour of their own.

          Maybe you can send back reports of the mood on polling day, if you have the time 🙂

        • gsays 4.2.1.2

          hi skinny, kia kaha bro to you and your off-siders.
          i suppose what you are needing to talk about and draw attention is the resignation and its timeline.

          if you pretend that sabin has done something heroic then you will not draw any attention to it.

          get stuck into them, show no mercy.

      • rawshark-yeshe 4.2.2

        even Slater wrote it was ‘too horrible for words”, according to this link:

        http://www.donotlink.com/framed?661247

        • Rosie 4.2.2.1

          Hmmm. In the end when it eventually goes public and after the intrigue has died down it just leaves the victims of his assault, whatever the nature of the assaults were, to try and get on with their lives, as they probably are trying to do right now, and have been since the time they happened.

          In the meantime, one can only hope that The Slug is wrong.

      • Rosie 4.2.3

        Thanks Lynn. That sounds like a very murky situation around suppression orders. Clarity would be a good thing.

    • Murray Rawshark 4.3

      Keep our children safe.

  5. McFlock 5

    It is an interesting question as to how it changes campaigning. “Bring out the vote” becomes “get them to vote before they can change their mind”.

    But then the special votes aren’t all at once, they increase in volume as the election approaches, so there’s still opportunity for the final-week king hit (or fizzle), and a majority still vote on the day.

    I suspect many optional special-voters (i.e. the ones not on rigs or overseas, the ones who just choose to vote while they pass the booth) are generally committed in a particular direction anyway, although I have no real basis for that suspicion.

    • lprent 5.1

      It is an interesting question as to how it changes campaigning. “Bring out the vote” becomes “get them to vote before they can change their mind”.

      One would imagine that is exactly what the National strategy would be in this by-election.

      …so there’s still opportunity for the final-week king hit (or fizzle), and a majority still vote on the day.

      Indeed. That was what I was waiting for the first part of this week to see. But so far it shows no signs of happening. Monday was very slightly lower than the kick in 2014. Tuesday was higher.

      I suspect we will have similar values to the general election for the same reasons. Friday will be the interesting figure to look at – on saturday.

  6. wyndham 6

    How did the Nats. come to choose a numptie novice such as Osbourne ? It seems very odd to me when the man appears, even cursorily, to be a total political liability.
    Steven Joyce seems prominent in the matter – – – does he have an agenda?

    • McFlock 6.1

      Tory hubris in a safe seat.

      I suspect all the wellington nats thought it would be a shoe-in until they got polling back just after Winston announced his candidacy. Hence the parade of ministers and lesser mps, the bribes, the threats, the cajolling, the intensive efforts of joyce to make the toryboy vaguely presentable, key attempting manual labour for the first time in his life…

      God it’s fun to watch them shit themselves 🙂

    • mary_a 6.2

      @ Wyndham (6) – as far as I know, Osborne was Mike Sabin’s electorate office treasurer. Perhaps he knows a thing or two, so selecting him as the Natsy candidate, could be a way of keeping him onside, so he doesn’t tell any “naughty stories”!

      • wyndham 6.2.1

        Yes Mary, I wonder if there is not some deeper reason for the selection. Despite Osbourne denying any particular knowledge of the Sabin business, one does wonder. As I mentioned earlier the prominence of Joyce rings alarm bells with me; he’s not thick and he’s the Nats campaign manager (along with C Textor). My conspiracy theories are showing !

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 6.2.2

        “Perhaps” ?!?!

        LOL

  7. veutoviper 7

    Apparently there is a new TV3 Reid poll about to be released – by Patrick Gower on TV3 News at 6pm.

    Gower is also apparently going to be on Radio Live Drive with Duncan Garner at 5.20pm with a development in the Northland by-election.

    According to the few hints on Gower’s Twitter feed, one side is going to get a shock ….

  8. swordfish 8

    The trend to early voting is a total bugger for those of us interested in the geography of the vote. If advance votes are coming disproportionately from some suburbs/towns/communities and not others (and from some socio-economic groups and not others) then it makes a mockery of the whole thing. Maybe we’ll look back and see 2011 as the last Election when we could say anything meaningful about the political complexion of different communities and relate them to their social characteristics via census data.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      yes , the old method of booth by booth comparisons may need to be adjusted as there tends to be only one early voting booth in eah urban electorate.

      The upside is the booth by booth stats were used , especially by National and Farrar to skew possible boundary changes.

      The North island has very odd boundarys , partly because of the larger size for most after each election.

    • lprent 8.2

      It has been marginal for some time. Urban electorates have major polling booths on main roads where the catchment extends over much of the electorate. Mt Albert was extreme when I was looking at who voted in what polling place from the analysis of data from scruitineering.

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