- Date published:
10:55 am, November 11th, 2023 - 45 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, david seymour, election 2023, elections, national, nz first, same old national, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags:
One of the most democratic changes that Labour made to the electoral system was to allow people to enroll and vote on election day.
The right hate it. All those young and/or people who are slightly disorganised because of life’s issues get to have their choice for Government recorded, as should happen in a properly functioning democracy.
These votes clearly swing left. In 2011 after the counting of special votes the Greens gained a seat from National. In 2014 the same thing happened. In 2017 Labour and the Greens picked up one seat each at National’s expense. And in 2020 Labour and Te Maori Pati picked up one seat each at National’s expense.
And in 2023 National again lost two seats, the Greens picked up one and Te Maori Pati picked up two and increased the overhang in Parliament.
The effects special votes had on the final result for the recent election are recorded in this Marc Daalder Newsroom article. In it he said:
National, Act and New Zealand First all fared worse in the special votes than on election night. National dropped from 40 percent on preliminary to 34.7 percent in the specials, Act fell from 9 percent to 7.4 percent and NZ First fell from 6.5 percent to 4.7 percent.
The specials made up 21 percent of the overall vote, compared with 17 percent in the past two elections.
That means National dropped 0.9 percent in the final results from its election night tally, Labour stayed the same, the Greens gained 0.8 percent, Act and NZ First each dropped 0.4 percent and Te Pāti Māori gained 0.5 percent.
National must be really frustrated by this. It appears the bigger the turn out and the more people vote that their chances worsen.
So what are they going to do?
Judging from what Christopher Luxon and Winston Peters and David Seymour have been saying I suspect that under the guise of getting a quicker final result they will look at adjusting election day enrolments.
Luxon wants things done more quickly. From Craig McCulloch and Russell Palmer at RNZ:
Luxon this week raised the possibility of speeding up the final vote count, saying a three-week delay is “way too long”. He suggested in interviews on Wednesday that the time allowed could be shortened, the Electoral Commission could release daily updates, and the commission could handle local elections.
He repeated that when speaking to reporters in Auckland on Thursday, ahead of the final results being released on Friday.
“It’s incredibly frustrating for everybody,” he said. “It’s sort of like, ‘hurry up and wait’. That’s why I would like the Electoral Commission to actually process special votes in a much quicker way going forward, if possible.”
David Seymour’s comments were even more pointed. Again from RNZ:
If democracy’s worth doing it’s worth doing well, but I think people could ask the question: is it worth waiting an extra week in return for people’s ability to walk up and register instead of pre-registering? Reasonable people can argue either way on that, but that’s certainly a question that needs to be asked.”
And Winston Peters has criticised the change to the law which allowed election day enrolments which was a law change supported by none other than Winston Raymond Peters. From Thomas Coughlan at the Herald:
NZ First leader Winston Peters today launched a broadside against the decision to allow people to enrol to vote on election day.
These votes are counted as special votes, which take ten times longer to count than other votes. As part of the rule change, the Electoral Commission now takes a week longer to publish final election results, including the special vote count.
Asked why NZ First had waited so long to begin coalition talks, which could have begun the day after polling day, Peters argued the real cause of the delay was the decision to allow people to enrol on election day.
“Here we are with a three week delay because people decided to have people enrol on election day,” Peters said.
The main reason for the delay is the hiatus built into the system to make sure that special votes and overseas votes are returned to their home electorate. The law currently provides that 10 days is allowed for special votes to be returned from overseas and 13 days for special votes cast in New Zealand to be returned to their home electorate. These periods could be shortened. Use of couriers should mean that special votes cast within the country are returned to their home electorates. And the checking and counting of special votes need not wait for receipt of all votes.
But I would not be surprised if there are actions to tighten up voting entitlement. And of course the skewering of the scrum in favour of the right will be completely accidental.