- Date published:
8:33 am, June 21st, 2019 - 95 comments
Categories: election 2017, elections, electoral commission, electoral systems, national, nick smith, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:
There is this unwritten law of electoral results throughout the world, higher turnouts favour the left and lower turnouts favour the right.
America provides the most stark example of this. It is why Republicans have continuously hacked at the electoral system and why there are such long waiting lists in Democrat areas.
This rule also applies to New Zealand. Last year’s improvement in turnout no doubt helped Labour succeed.
And this is why National gets really concerned at any proposal to make voting easier. It is because this is against their interests.
Take this extraordinary response from Nick Smith to the proposals that there should be voting booths in shopping malls and that people should be able to enrol on election day.
From Collette Devlin at Stuff:
New Zealanders will soon be able to cast a vote while grocery shopping but the Opposition says the Government is rushing the changes to advantage its own re-election.
Justice Minister Andrew Little announced changes on Thursday that will see voters gaining the right to enrol on election day at next year’s general election, and allowing ballot boxes to be placed in supermarkets and malls to make it easier for people to vote.
The Justice Select Committee is currently holding an Inquiry into the 2017 General Election, where it has been advised by the Electoral Commission.
Little said the committee would run out of time to enact any changes to make voting easier, so the Government gave the green light to recommendations that were not particularly controversial, he said.
National’s electoral law spokesman Nick Smith said that was a poor excuse and the changes were a “stitch-up”.
“If the minister was concerned about the timetable, he could have asked the committee, at any stage in the past 18 months, to address the issues quicker.
He believed the three parties in Government had cherry picked Electoral Commission recommendations with the objection of making it easier.
“We know from advice that if you allow same day enrolment and voting, that tends to favour parties of the left. The international vote, as we saw in the 2017 final count, tended to favour parties like the Greens.”
Election day enrolment is utterly rational and should not be contentious. After all you can enrol and early vote during the weeks leading up to election day. Why should the day itself be different?
In the report of the Electoral Commission on the 2017 election the proposal was floated and further work on the issue was suggested.
And what is the problem with the change? Smith has claimed that making voting easier will favour the coalition. He has also raised the bogeyman of electoral fraud. To have a meaningful effect on an MMP election the fraud would have to be significant.
He is also claiming that National has been broadsided by the idea. It is difficult to take this serious. We have over 12 months before the next election and the change is not a significant one. There is plenty of time for the proposal to be discussed and consulted on.
Of course our electoral system should be able to reflect the views of all eligible voters. Allowing late enrolments on election day and for their vote to be counted is a logical development of that principle.