The rules are a bit farcical

Bryce Edwards draws attention to the silly and archaic rules over campaigning that have again been highlighted in the recent by-election in Northcote.

Radio NZ reports: Quote:

Dan Bidois ultimately kept the seat for National, pulling in 10,147 votes, compared to Labour’s Shanan Halbert with 8,785 votes.

Over 1100 special declaration votes are still to be counted.

One political commentator said the election rules need to change alongside our voting habits.

Of the people who took part in the Northcote by-election, 57 percent made their votes in advance of polling day.

Political commentator Dr Bryce Edwards says this raises questions about rules banning any campaigning on election day.? ?

Candidates can’t really go out campaigning on polling day, but they can do it in those days leading up when those people are voting, so it really means there’s a contradiction, it means the rules aren’t consistently applied, it makes something of a mockery of those rules,” he said.

Dr Edwards said both National and Labour are making an effort to push voters into casting their votes earlier.

But more advanced votes didn’t mean more votes in total.

Only 43 percent of those enrolled voted in the by-election.

The total estimated votes (those counted on election night plus estimated special votes to be counted) are just over 21,000, compared to the 48,000 people who enrolled.

However, Dr Edwards said this is not an uncommon turnout for a by-election and voter fatigue so close after a general election may have come into play. End quote.

People can’t be bothered with by-elections. They won’t generally change overall outcomes and in this case nothing would have really mattered even if National had lost the seat.

But Edwards is right, it is silly to have a ban on campaigning on election day when campaigning occurs every other day during the election period, while people are early voting.

However, I’d rather we saw enforcement of the Electoral Act and prosecution of breaches before reforming campaigning rules.

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