Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Election 2014: The Special Votes

36 Responses

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  • Raymond A Francis,

    Nice work Graeme, the election night result will stand
    The people have spoken, the Left are as not a popular choice as social media would have us believe( the snark on Twitter from the left over the Leaders speeches was amazing) let us as a country get moving, there is plenty to do

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • eszett,

    Great analysis, Graeme.

    Did you do any work on the electorate level? I'd be interested in the specials might change the result in Auckland Central and/or Hutt South. Both seem marginal enough.

    Since May 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    There's not half a million informal votes sitting around is there? They all get a second and third look before the final count. Seems it was just another in the long trend of lower turnouts though.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Question, Graeme: what happens about the Speaker? Carter continues on and gets replaced by someone else from National's list?

    He's going to be even more unbearable and useless now that all the oversight mechanisms of Parliament are majority National.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    let us as a country get moving, there is plenty to do

    Like, making the trains run on time?

    "Snark", "dissent" ... tomato, tomato.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1319 posts Report Reply

  • icehawk,

    And if Hone had won his electorate seat? How would the Sainte-Lague (sp?) method have worked out then.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    You forgot the Takeaway Special Votes (yes that's what they are called).

    An Agent purporting to represent a voter (who cannot attend the Voting Place and is not recently dead) picks up a ballot paper and takes it away.

    It works like this. The Issuing Officer stamps the ballot with their Issuing Stamp (I saw a Voting Place Manager borrow someone else's stamp to do this) and places it in a sealed envelope together with another envelope into which the completed ballot will be placed.

    The Agent declares they won't interfer in the vote and only act as assistant if needed.

    The Agent returns the completed sealed ballot to the Voting Place. There were quite a few of these in one Voting Place I was at. I witnessed an Agent take a very long time with the help of two officials to find her 'mother' on the roll. Finally the Agent said "Yes, that will be it."

    A scrutineer also saw this exchange: Agent returns with envelope and says to Voting Place Manager: "I think we forgot to put the ballot paper in." Voting Place Manager "No worries, let's open it and see". They open it, fiddle around with the papers and seal it up again with cellotape.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Can anyone confirm I'm understanding correctly: this shows there are no Special Votes to be counted for Te Tai Tokerau (as opposed to no Special Votes yet counted)?

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    They open it, fiddle around with the papers and seal it up again with cellotape.

    I reckon Chchch would have had a few voter ID cards go to dead addresses...
    ...someone who wanted to game such a system, might well consider it worth the risk.
    An let's face it, National has raised 'gaming the system' to almost a national sport level.

    <still the only explanation I can see for Chchch Central>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Tim Michie,

    The Māori electorates are all marked as 0 specials, because special votes are deposited in a box in the general electorate place and only sorted out to their proper electorates later. They overlap, so you can't count which is which yet.

    Remember, specials is for where they're cast, not where they're counted.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to tussock,

    Gotcha. Cheers tussock.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Our scrutineer system is all superb, it's basically the best in the world, and things like that do get tried on and people just get nailed. There's a bunch of old folk and others being looked after at home with poor mobility get voting papers taken to them by family. Everyone takes and compares notes, anything dodgy gets checked up on. There's phone calls to check, police visit people to check, people get caught. In smaller booths, the people taking votes mostly know everyone.

    There is not a mysterious fifty thousand fake votes. Like nicking voter cards, the real person still votes 77% of the time or more, so you get caught when they compare the books, and the real person gets found to ask which vote was theirs. You can't do it, it doesn't work. Our system is superb.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to tussock,

    Our system is superb.

    Thanks, that's good to know...

    But is there a historic count on how often this scenario happens

    so you get caught when they compare the books

    and will the figure this year be publicised do you think?

    I for one would be interested to know...

    also the usual figures on Invalid and No Confidence votes?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    We don't have any No Confidence category.

    A vote for a satirical party is a vote for a party. A spoiled vote is a spoiled vote. A non-vote is a non-vote.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Dixon,

    I'd like to be convinced that the system is reasonably fraud-proof but, having been a scrutineer several times now I think there are major flaws. In 2011, voter information was floating around the streets of North Dunedin in the weeks before that election having been stuffed into overflowing letter boxes outside empty student flats... easy prey for collecting false voter ID details to front up and vote at a number of polling places - and a very high chance the valid voter (on holiday at their parents' home up in Auckland) wasn't going to bother going out to cast a special vote.

    This election, the easy vote card was not intended to be an ID and people were only asked can you confirm that you are A... B.... ? That card could have been purchased, stolen, taken from persons in care or even legally obtained from the EC under a false name. There are a number of other possible means by which multiple voting could occur with detection of fraud being unlikely. I'm not sure how the holes can be addressed (short of retinal scanning) and it'd be a great shame to require proof of identity at polling places as that would deter many from voting at all. The Easy Vote cards were QR coded and could be scanned in future elections (I think a pilot exercise was done this time, to be checked against manual systems) but in future uses (including online voting - one use of EasyVote) that is only likely to provide efficiency improvements, not markedly better security - apart from detecting duplicate copies.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Would it help if we all had unique ID chips implanted in our hands...


    </coat /door>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Would it help if we all had unique ID chips implanted in our hands…


    </coat /door>

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Nice that Tussock is so trusting.

    30% of enrolled voters don't vote! You and I could think of many ways to vote for them.

    How come I also saw a women in a van with the same group of people at more than one voting place?

    Also check the Electoral Act 1933 as to what happens when more than one vote is discovered as being issued to the same elector once the rolls are consolidated into a master roll!!

    Why is it that the file of recently deceased people supplied by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages under s92 is not merged into the rolls until after the vote is declared and is not available for scrutineers? Or am I wrong on this one?

    How come there was a missing "Issuing Stamp" at one Voting Place I scrutineered at? What would happen if a roll (there are more than 10 of them at busy Voting Places) goes missing for an hour or two? It is naive in the extreme to imagine that of the 2500 (?) Voting Places in NZ there is not one who will try it on.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    oh, and I forgot to add, that a book of numbered ballot papers goes missing too for a while. So instead of 9 issuing officers there may only be 8 issuing in the Voting Place. Dead easy for corrupt Voting Place Manager to arrange.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    let us as a country get moving, there is plenty to do

    And no one even think about taking a tea break!

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Brian Dixon,

    and a very high chance the valid voter (on holiday at their parents' home up in Auckland) wasn't going to bother going out to cast a special vote.

    Bullshit. It's ludicrous. University educated young people vote around 80% of the time. You're talking about people using thousands of cards to make any sort of difference, there'd be at least hundreds of people in on it, and thousands extra duplicated votes.

    Last time I recall they caught 3 people in the whole country. Hell, maybe it was 30. It wasn't 300. Even 30,000 fraudulent party votes is barely one seat, and how the fuck would you hide that? Think!

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    30% of enrolled voters don't vote!

    Fuck you, by the way. I'm so cynical I thought National would only get 43% on carelessly biased polling that favours the advertiser's interests like last time. And then people went and did their jobs like professionals, the polls were right, I was wrong, and the election came out as expected with Labour's long downward slide in the polls the last 18 months showing up clearly on the day as well. Life, it goes on.

    Plus, 23% of people (100%-77%) enrolled don't vote. Some 5% of enrollments were late, so didn't even get a card. Most people who don't vote still collect their mail. There's not 30,000 cards lying around. There's certainly not 300,000.

    It is naive in the extreme to imagine that of the 2500 (?) Voting Places in NZ there is not one who will try it on.

    With people coming and going all day? Under the eyes of multiple party scrutineers? As a conspiracy with everyone there, the local judge who oversees the count? The press sniffing around for a story? People like you expecting it despite the difficulty?

    With the polling places having their counts all match the long term expected turnout and voting trends as expected? With the swings going to National in every polling booth in every seat across the entire country? With the boundary changes reflected in the new electorate totals?

    Yes, the small booths have less eyes watching, the odd period when no one turns up to vote, but they still only produce 100 votes. The really tiny ones, where it might be easy enough, they get six votes, and all those people know each other anyway. They can tell who voted for who because there's six of them. Not your extra quarter million all stuffed in one box from some backwater polling site.

    Stop being ridiculous. Random people do try shit on, but not in mass conspiracies because people like us would hear. They still get caught, and there's fuck all of them anyway.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    How come I also saw a women in a van with the same group of people at more than one voting place?

    SIS are less subtle these days

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • icehawk, in reply to tussock,

    Indeed, you are right about the absurdity of such conspiracies flourishing.

    One of the heartening things about the whole Dirty Politics saga is that once 4 people in NZ know something, it really has no chance of remaining secret long-term.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    What would happen if a roll (there are more than 10 of them at busy Voting Places) goes missing for an hour or two?

    This is insane. It would be incredibly obvious if a roll went missing. One is issued to each Issuing Officer. Without the roll, they can't issue votes. You make it sound like rolls are just lying around all over the place, but if you've scrutineered, you absolutely know that's not the case. And if you did get your hands on a roll without any IO or scrutineer noticing, what would you do with it? I'm seriously asking. What would you do with it?

    I actually know from experience what happens when a ballot pad "goes missing" (it wasn't actually missing). You really don't have a clue what you're talking about.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

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