Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Semi-Random election law thoughts

13 Responses

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It seems that (after a week :-) the NZ Herald has discovered the Electoral Commission's report too.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report

  • Michael Homer,

    Being picky, I'm not sure what this is trying to say:

    I arrived at the proposal to have the matter referred to the Court of Appeal arose because of that Court’s powers in respect of election petitions respecting the allocation of list seats.

    It looks like two sentences mashed together there and I don't know which you meant. There is also a "candidate who’s nomination" that should be "whose".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    From Today’s Herald…

    Last election, there were 24 referrals to the police and 62 complaints about dual voting. Only one of the investigations into those referrals has so far been completed: the Electoral Commission’s belief that Prime Minister John Key’s hour-long stint hosting on RadioLive was an election programme which breached the Broadcasting Act. On March 30 police announced they would not lay charges because there was insufficient evidence.

    So, who should be investigating these breeches?. As it stands we might as well have no Electoral law, if the Police can't find evidence in an entire hour long, illegal in the opinion of the Electoral Commission, election broadcast what hope do we have of a fair and balanced electoral system?.

    ETA. Maybe I should have clicked on Graeme’s link first but the comment stands.
    ETA, again.
    Nice submission Graeme.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Keir Leslie,

    I may be misreading, but it looks to me that the Electoral Commission is recommending the removal, not just of the right for scrutineers to wear rosettes, but also for anyone. Which would also extend to people doing turn out on election day, presumably.

    In general I disagree with the idea of banning rosettes on election day. Elections are partisan, and while I don't agree with advertising etc on election day, there's no point trying to pretend political parties don't exist that day.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole,

    As I said on the Book of Face about today's Herald article that Steve linked, other than, possibly, armed insurrection against the state, I don't think that there should be any matter taken more seriously by the Police than attacks on the integrity of our electoral system. After all, without the checks and balances of a strong democracy your murder may just not be a high priority.

    Which means, given that the Police don't appear to treat electoral offences as being terribly important, that we should probably investigate an alternative enforcement body for electoral law.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I may be misreading, but it looks to me that the Electoral Commission is recommending the removal, not just of the right for scrutineers to wear rosettes, but also for anyone. Which would also extend to people doing turn out on election day, presumably.

    Yes. They are suggesting precisely that. Lots of people get annoyed, apparently. Maybe some people feel some pressure to vote for those who ferried them to the polling booth? I don't know.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report

  • izogi,

    I know that if a scrutineer was to ever exercise their rights under s 166 of the Electoral Act in respect of my vote, I’d want to know what party they represented in order to ensure that party never got my vote ever again.

    Wow. I didn't know about that one at all. Are there any recorded cases of a scrutineer actually requiring an issuing officer to demand a voter answer the question?

    I guess if a person's been observed to visit multiple polling stations (for instance), it's important to have a mechanism to stop them before they cast an anonymous irreversible vote into too many voting booths, but it also strikes me as the sort of problem that could eventually be more reliably solved with more fluid and real-time digital communication between polling booths instead of the traditional book where names get struck off with a ruler and then compared after the election. I didn't see how they were doing it in the recent election, though, having cast a special vote.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    •63 cases of dual voting/personation

    Wow. The gummint should do something about this. If ever there was a case to have everyone implanted with an electronic ID system then I don't know nuffink.

    Fancy, 63 cases! Appalling. It's more than the eleven boat/group people who have triggered a certain piece of legislation.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Brendon Steen,


    Voting is not anonymous. It's time-consuming, but votes can be traced if necessary. That's why the rolls are compared after the election, so that dual-votes can be disregarded and referred to the police.

    Every ballot paper has a number (covered by a black sticker). The voter's place on the electoral roll (page & line number) is recorded on the ballot paper stub. If a dual-vote is found, the electoral commission can match the copies of the printed rolls to the ballot pads used by the same issuing officers to find the ballot paper number. Then remove all the black stickers from ballots counted at the affected polling place(s) until they find the right ones.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • Chris Waugh,

    The Commission’s rationale that removing the logos of unregistered parties would simplify the information provided to voters on the voting paper is unconvincing.

    Extremely unconvincing. Surely the commission should be encouraging the use of logos by both parties (registered or otherwise) and independent candidates for electorates as an aid to those of weaker literacy skills? Not everybody deals well with words, and a little picture or pattern associated with a party or candidate could work wonders for many trying to decipher the forms. After all, we do want maximum participation, don't we?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Do They?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Islander,

    Do They [want maximum voting participation]?

    The Electoral Commission certainly do. Whether that extends to our elected overlords is a completely different question.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • izogi, in reply to Brendon Steen,

    Point taken. So does this then mean section 166 is then unnecessary because people who vote multiple times will inevitably be caught, convicted, punished as appropriate and have their votes reversed, anyway? If that's the case, why give scrutineers the ability to legally intimidate voters at all? Particularly if something comparable with Graeme's proposal of allowing the Court of Appeal to reallocate list seats upon adjusted figures were enacted.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report

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