Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Buying a fight with democracy

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  • izogi,

    This, National says, is to prevent the problem of political parties not having sufficient time to do “proper scrutiny” of the roll.

    To what degree do political parties scrutinise the roll at present, and what examples are there of anything coming of it?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Hamilton also proposed a shorter advance voting period of 10-14 days and tougher restrictions on campaigning where early voting is taking place.

    Both of these changes were proposed by the Electoral Commission. Currently there are no restrictions on election advertising in and around advance voting booths. Scrutineers can’t even be stopped wearing t-shirts that say “VOTE [PARTY]” inside the polling place. All the commission wanted was to make advance voting consistent with on-the-day voting. So either this isn’t a grievous violation of free speech, or the ban on election-day advertising is. I don’t see how you can have it both ways.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    In the US, the Republican Party

    Invoking the US Republican party as an equivalence to the NZ National party is effectively godwinning your own post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Emma Hart,

    So either this isn’t a grievous violation of free speech, or the ban on election-day advertising is.

    As much as I like it, the ban on election day advertising is a grievous violation of free speech.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I agree with you, Emma. Nobody can have it both ways.

    In my view, the ban on election-day advertising is egregious, and has become even more egregious now that a third of the country chooses to vote with advertising all around them. I agree with David Farrar on this: those restrictions need to be wound back.

    Update! I also agree with Edge on this (see his comment above).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    In my view, the ban on election-day advertising is egregious

    Thanks for clarifying that, Rob. It's not a position I agree with, but it's one I can respect.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to izogi,

    To what degree do political parties scrutinise the roll at present, and what examples are there of anything coming of it?

    Political parties use the roll extensively at election time, including scrutinising the final printed rolls against the page and line numbers announced by clerks staffing the booths. That helps parties know whether their priority voters showed up or not. Allowing on the day registration wouldn't affect that at all, because it doesn't change any page/line number for previously enrolled voters.

    In terms of sniffing out fraud and so on, my impression is that the Commission does much more of that than any party.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    For most Kiwis, presenting a driver’s license or signing a form isn’t a big deal.

    Like a number of people I don't drive, hence don't have a license. At times my passport has lapsed leaving me bereft of official ID. This could indeed be a big deal if a polling official were to insist on one or the other.

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Invoking the US Republican party as an equivalence to the NZ National party is effectively godwinning your own post.

    I'd put it differently. I'd say "Invoking Godwin's Law when nobody mentioned ze war is a good way to express moral outrage when you actually have nothing to say."

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    Invoking the US Republican party as an equivalence to the NZ National party is effectively godwinning your own post.

    I'd put it differently. I'd say "Invoking Godwin's Law when nobody mentioned ze war is a good way to express moral outrage when you actually have nothing to say."

    I think what Bart means is that it's a specious and irrelevant connection to make. Invoking Basil Fawlty at him seems in poor taste and bad faith.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Lilith __,

    I think what Bart means is that it's a specious and irrelevant connection to make.

    And I don't agree, for reasons I lay out at some length in the post. If someone wants to give some reasons why they disagree; great. But saying "I disgree because [reason withheld]" doesn't lead to productive discussion.

    Invoking Basil Fawlty at him seems in poor taste and bad faith.

    I'd say something similar about invoking the Nazi Party at me.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    It's fair to compare to the Republicans and their drive to exclude voters. There's pretty much no other good reason to do any of this in a system that isn't broken.

    Well, none that I can think of. If anyone else can think of a good reason to fix our unbroken system with a new administrative overhead likely to have a disproportionate effect on the young, recent immigrants, the poor, the elderly, women, etc, I'd like to hear it. All the people for whom cranking out a driver's license isn't just an automatic expectation.

    It might be a long bow to suggest that immigrants are more likely to vote National, though. They might, however, be more likely not to vote at all, in which case their vote becomes irrelevant. If looking for a sinister motive, I'd be thinking this one hits young people more, and also women (less likely to drive?). Both are more likely to vote Labour than National.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I am not aware of any political party (anyone that's not the EC, in fact) actually scrutinizing the rolls to check for false details prior to an election - it wouldn't be at all practical, considering the scale of modern electorates. It's a polite fiction from the days of limited franchises and much smaller electorates.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Also, I don’t need any chilling reasons to think this is a dumb idea. It’s enough that it’s a completely unwarranted waste of time and money. That it’s chilling is just icing on the fuck-off cake.

    Give us a real reason to do this, or don’t do it.

    ETA: Not at Keir. The link was accidental, and unfortunately not editable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    it wouldn’t be at all practical, considering the scale of modern electorates. It’s a polite fiction from the days of limited franchises and much smaller electorates.

    I don't know about that. The bit that's old fashioned to me is thinking that a large database is a difficult thing to collate and search.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    Invoking Basil Fawlty at him seems in poor taste and bad faith.

    I’d say something similar about invoking the Nazi Party at me.

    This is getting very meta.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    including scrutinising the final printed rolls against the page and line numbers announced by clerks staffing the booths.

    I have seen one (1) scrutineer actually write down the numbers we call out.

    And yes, as seems the consensus here, voter ID is, IMO, a horrible idea. I'm perfectly comfortable with a small amount of voter fraud being the consequence of not disenfranchising people.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s fair to compare to the Republicans and their drive to exclude voters. There’s pretty much no other good reason to do any of this in a system that isn’t broken.

    It seemed that way to me. Obviously, there's a difference in scale, but the comparison itself seems relevant enough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    Invoking Basil Fawlty at him seems in poor taste and bad faith.

    I’d say something similar about invoking the Nazi Party at me.

    This is getting very meta.

    Too meta and not very productive. Let's move on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to izogi,

    Scrutiny of the rolls was a live issue 30+ years ago, when the rolls were an absolute mess. Indeed, that was one of the key points of the Hunua electoral petition following the 1978 election. Last Thursday I thought it might be useful for the select cttee to hear evidence from the winner* of Hunua, to tell them what things were like then.

    But as a result, NZ Post was given responsibility for the rolls - now morphed into the Electoral Enrolment unit of the Electoral Commission. The rolls aren't a problem, and scrutiny has not been a live issue for many years.

    * the winner was one W Peters.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I’m perfectly comfortable with a small amount of voter fraud being the consequence of not disenfranchising people.

    Same here. Carrying on, if you assume that it merely takes scrutiny time to identify fraud and so it's not until some time after the election that fraud is identified, it should still be possible to compare with the result and determine a probability that it could have affected the outcome, should it not?

    I guess in these days when a small number of Party votes might tip a threshold, or result in MPs having been allocated differently between parties, maybe fraud could be identified as having made a significant difference, in which case the election could be re-run if things are so desperate to ensure a trusted result, and maybe there's merit in ensuring that's possible under legislation. But until that's actually a demonstrated problem, it seems very over the top to protect for it when there's a down-side.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Is there a place where I can see the official submissions besides the media links from Rob's post?

    I'm wondering if anything's come from the minor furore which surrounded people taking photos of their ballot papers from inside the polling booths, then sharing.

    At the time, the Electoral Commission seemed to be stating this wasn't allowed because of a technicality about it being illegal to replicate a ballot paper, even though that seems a dubious stretch of s197(1)(f) of the Electoral Act which, as far as I can tell, is really talking about ballot paper imitations intended to be used at the poll.

    To me though, the much more serious consequence of people now having the means to so easily produce and publish evidence of their vote is that it means the national election is no longer guaranteed secret. It opens up multiple avenues for coercing people to vote in a certain way which they wouldn't have otherwise voted, whether it's by outright demading that they provide evidence or just implying it.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    30+ years ago... the rolls were an absolute mess

    Day old white bread, grated tasty, rancid marge.

    It's great how much progress we've made in baked goods since then. I'll have the field mushrooms with baby spinach on ciabatta.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    I think what Bart means is that it's a specious and irrelevant connection to make.

    Exactly.

    The problems with the proposals to change the rules around electoral law can be discussed without invoking comparisons that are extreme.

    We do not have the same social structure as the US. We do not have the same large communities equivalent to the black and Hispanic communities in the US that can and have been targeted by the Republicans. We do not have the local political structures that allow counties to create electoral laws designed specifically to target specific (poor) voters.

    Your comparison between The National party and the extreme behaviour of the Republicans, and more specifically the extreme right wing Republicans, does nothing to enhance the discussion it simply acts to add fear and drama to your post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Dean Wallis,

    There seems to be an unwritten assumption here that electoral fraud is a left-wing issue. Republican politics being what they are, one could posit that reducing electoral fraud could actually benefit the left?

    Of course increasing the barriers to voting will not benefit the democratic institution, although I would personally prefer a very simple 10-question multi-choice test, to ensure those voting are not the completely ignorant dweebs we see interviewed on telly every 3 years...

    Point Chevalier • Since Jan 2013 • 45 posts Report Reply

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