“Yes, there are rules (also updated last week) about what to do if there is an ‘unforeseen or unavoidable disruption’ to an election. They’re mostly designed to deal with short-term, or localised disruptions (think earthquake or particularly bad weather), and only once an election has been called, but they could be used during an epidemic.”
As someone involved in the policy formulation behind these legislative changes, I think this is characterisation of them is wrong. The possibility of a national disruption, potentially lengthy in nature, was very much considered and included in the changes. Hence the initial 3 day suspension power + recurrent 7 day extensions + wide discretion in using alternative voting processes as needed.
A hint that such considerations were at the forefront of thinking on the changes is that one of the potential triggers for the powers under the Act is: “an epidemic notice given under section 5(1) of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 being in force”
Wouldn't surprise me if the suddenly 'on-board and caring' President Trump tries postponing this year's elections in the US of A... you know, for the health of the people!
Trump tries postponing this year’s elections
That would require a bill passed by both houses and signed by the president (and almost definitely also requiring the assent of their supreme court just because someone is bound to sue).
The US Constitution says the terms of the President and Vice President end at noon on the 20th day of January. Without a president or vice president the order of succession falls through to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. So either they hold the election, delay it via both houses, or they let the role fall through to Pelosi. One of those things seems like something Trump would do almost anything to avoid.
IMO widespread electronic voting could only reasonably produce a caretaker government just because it's so grossly insecure that even a landslide win wouldn't be convincing evidence of the intention of the voters. You might as well use a telephone poll of 100 voters per electorate and save the theatrics.
This is broadly true, but for the bit about the presidency devolving to Nancy Pelosi on 20 January.
Because, the Constitution also says that:
Art 1: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States", and
Art 20: "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin."
So - if there's been no election to choose a new President, then there won't have been an election to choose new members of Congress, so Pelosi's term will have ended 17 days before Trump's and there'll be no-one to replace her and everything is stuffed.
Depends what we mean by"electronic voting". If it's the sort currently used for overseas voters - download a ballot, print it, fill it out, scan it back in and send electronically to the Electoral Commission - then there's no real security concerns (or, none that are any greater than the current way we vote).
If it's full online voting, then run away screaming (https://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/116496911/why-it-will-never-be-possible-to-have-a-completely-protected-online-voting).
Presumably there will still be a President pro Tempore of the Senate next in line, whose term will not have expired (but who isn't Nancy Pelosi and is 87 years old, though they could elect someone else in the gap).
As off-by-one errors are part of my profession, how does the three year term deal with leap years? Is it just a matter of adding three to the year? Could a someone mischievous make the 29th of February in a leap year as the date of return of the writ?
What about the referendums? Can they be postponed independently of the election in order to keep election day voting and processing quick and simple in trying times?
The current system seems vulnerable to denial of service attacks/ballot stuffing, and a credential leak or hack would be a disaster. If we ran the whole election that way the temptation for someone to do the latter would increase significantly... the saving thing right now is that hardly anyone uses the electronic option so changing the election outcome that way is almost impossible. Likewise "fill out the voting paper and have your racist uncle drop it off at the polling booth for you" doesn't scale too well.
Take that away and you have a full online voting but without the normal safeguards. Over here we're still recovering from the AEC fiasco in WA where even re-running a single electorate is a bit ugly.
Pelosi’s term will have ended 17 days before Trump’s
I am informed that Pelosi is not up for election this year, they do that half-each-time thing. So she'll still be in place.
Thanks Graeme (and Andrew).
Going in the opposite direction, it would seem less likely now that the PM would call a snap election. I'm sure she has no plans to, but things can change ... NZF could unravel, Shane Jones could push his luck too far, etc.
But all kinds of practical problems then have to be considered: imagine a campaign without people gathering in large numbers (insert ACT launch jokes here). No rallies, no marches, no handshakes ... no baby kissing?
The entire House is up for election every two years; a third of the Senate is up for election every two years. Nothing is half-each-time. She’s out as described.
Chuck Grassley, the President pro Tempore of the Senate, is still there until 2022 and would act as president in this scenario if nothing else changed. I imagine the remaining two-thirds of the Senate would elect somebody else instead if they knew that was coming, though - particularly since that remaining two-thirds has a 33-32-2 split in favour of the other party, so some Democratic senator would act as President instead.
You are misinformed, and appear to be mixing up the Senate with the House. 1/3rd of the Senate is elected every 2 years. But the entire House is elected every two years. See here: https://ballotpedia.org/California%27s_12th_Congressional_District_election,_2020
There won't be a "snap" election (i.e. one held before Sept 19) - that would bring the election date forward into the period when Covid-19 is most likely to be here. If anything, there will be a delay to the election date, which Ardern would negotiate with Bridges and others (I'm sure).
Why is a supposedly impartial chief political reporter like Jessica Mutch-Mckay politicising her ‘live interview’ with the PM?
at 12:38 she starts by saying the package has been criticised (after coverage of people saying it was good) and then ends by saying people criticise that it wasn’t fast enough and adding "I guess it will be for people to decide in the coming months and on election day just how fast that package has been."
- Not helping!!!
This is very negative spin and does not help the situation – Mutch-Mckay needs to stick to the story at hand and not politicise it or throw in dog whistles!
The last thing we need is ‘changing horses mid crisis’ – and Bridges’ and Goldsmith’s seemingly bottomless sump of negativity and platitudes is not a productive way forward
I have complained to TVNZ.
Like you, I'd assume the Transport agency (in partnership with the Health dept)
But they seem to have closed down - the link goes here:
which says on-line services are still viable
Other online services remain available.
Transport Agency 'Contact us' page
Due to the COVID-19 alert level change, as our Contact Centre is not an essential service, it has now been closed until further notice however, we are still responding to emails.
Please note that due to reduced staffing levels, this will have a significant impact on our response times, and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we can.
- worth a crack
That and stringent and scrupulous cleaning (astringent even!)
But how do ya kill something that isn't even 'alive' - it's just a genetic OS.
Acute mental inpatient units currently have no credible plans for isolating Covid19 positive patients.
Unless this is sorted out very quickly inpatient units will act as sources of cross infection.
There’s been some discussion of mental heath issues but overlooked are the most acutely unwell and vulnerable.
Staff of these units will be going home to families and many are already deeply distressed at the prospect of spreading the virus to their children and parents.
Why I mention this is with acute mental inpatient settings there is no way social distancing can be enforced, let alone effective infection isolation. If someone is positive then it will spread very quickly to patients, who often have physical issues, and staff who go back home after work.
That is very different to general hospital settings.