online voting

You think Democracy is broken?

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One of our readers lives in a rental, and apart from getting all the previous tenants junk mail, he’s now also able to vote four times in the Referendum.

I know him well enough, and he won’t.  But it shows that a fair amount of voting forms never get to the intended recipient, and that it is unlikely that the Electoral Commission can determine if there is something sinister going on.

He writes

I happen to live in a part of Auckland where the average resident wouldn’t be aware or at least care enough about following up on their “missing” referendum packs.  Someone bold enough could go empty out most of the letterboxes before people came home from work.

Right now I have four votes.  I could easily go back outside and get myself dozens.

I dropped the Electoral Commission a note asking what happens when duplicate votes are submitted in the event someone follows up on a missing voting pack.

Postal voting is used for local body elections, and has been used for previous referendums, with little evidence of vote tampering or voter fraud.

Under the referendum legislation, voters who have moved can request replacement papers be sent to their new addresses.  Their original papers will be cancelled when that request is made.

Each voting paper carries a QR code unique to the voter, which is used to mark them off the roll when their paper is returned, whilst maintaining the secrecy of the ballot. If two papers with identical QR codes were to be returned, they would be identified within the system and investigated.

Those who receive voting papers for people no longer at their address should return them so that the electoral roll can be updated. Read more »

Farrar will get himself all excited over this

Wellington City Council are going to experiment with online voting.

Selection of Wellington City Council to participate in a trial for online voting at next year’s local body elections has been welcomed by the Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

“We hope younger people and those with disabilities will take the opportunity to vote online and have their say in local body affairs,” she says.

Mayor Wade-Brown says engagement with the community is important for local authorities.

“We already use online mechanisms as a way of increasing participation in many council processes, from Smokefree issues to our Long Term Plan, so it makes sense for us to participate in the online voting trial.    Read more »

Agreeing with Chris Trotter about online voting

There are plenty of fools out there who think that electronic voting is nirvana, that it will engage the yoof to vote and increase participation in our democracy.

I disagree, and so does Chris Trotter. Electronic voting won’t deliver what proponents say it will, in fact it is likely to increase distrust in the voting process.

There are already conspiracy theorists out there who think John Key rigs ballot boxes, imagine if there was electronic voting, you’d ahve accusations of Merril Lynch funding the software company from the time of John Key’s involvement and therefore the process must be corrupt.

DEREK HANDLEY bubbles over with faith in the future. As a precocious inductee to the Silicon Alley Hall of Fame, he is blazingly confident that capitalism, information technology and the entrepreneurial spirit are never going to encounter a challenge they cannot rise to – or overcome.

Like the failure of close to half of New Zealand citizens aged under 30 to engage in the electoral process.

On this subject Mr Handley is typically forthright:

“Everybody under 30 has grown up with the internet and mobile devices to do practically everything online yet they still can’t vote online. [This has resulted] in an entire generation being pushed to the sidelines of democracy not because they don’t care, but because it hasn’t kept up with them.”

Setting aside Mr Handley’s bubbly confidence in all things “online”, this is utter tosh. An “entire generation” has not been “pushed to the sidelines of democracy”, they have ambled there entirely of their own accord. Not only do they not “care” about democracy, but an alarming number of them would also struggle to tell you what it is.

In my opinion Derek Handley is a jumped up pretentious tosspot. My dearly departed grandfather once commented (ok it was a lot) that empty vessels make the most noise. This is Derek Handley.

Trotter is dead right about the dead set useless yoof who let themselves become disengaged in democracy.

Far from democracy failing to keep up with the needs of the younger generation, one out of every two New Zealanders under 30 has failed conspicuously to keep up with the most fundamental facts of political life.

The most important of these is that politics (and elections) are activities to be participated in collectively – not individually. The moment this central fact of political life is forgotten, the logic of participation collapses in on itself.

A recent article by Fairfax journalists Paul Easton and Simon Day vividly illustrates what happens when the prospect of casting a vote is viewed through an individualistic, as opposed to a collectivist, lens.

Asked why he didn’t vote, Johnny, aged 20, and described simply as “dad”, declared:

“I didn’t see the point. My life is good as it is. I don’t like John Key, but I thought he was going to get in anyway so I didn’t vote. I would vote if it meant getting stuff I was keen for.”

Read more »

An email from a reader about voter apathy

The reader emails:

Hello ,

This is a letter to the Herald that I sent to the newspaper yesterday.

I am really concerned about the low voter turnout and the excuses being made by high profile media people the likes of Mike Hosking as to why they did not vote in the local body elections .

Much is being made of the ” difficulties and awkwardness ” of the postal ballot which was brought into being because of the ” inconvenience” to voters to go to polling stations.

Now we hear that online voting being brought into the frame.

It seems the 30 second attention span of a large majority of eligible voters would be challenged even with this facility.

******************************************

Here are my thoughts for what ever they are worth;

The low voter turnout for the recent council elections is a sad indictment of the apathy that has  permeated and overcome our society.

For all the self righteous talk and chest beating about our precious democratic values when it comes right down to it ,as a people ,the majority of the voting population of New Zealand pay little more than lip service and scant respect for our rights to them.

The list of weak excuses rolled out from those who did not vote ,” I forgot” ,”I did not know anything about the candidate” , “I couldn’t be bothered” ,etc just underlines the laziness and apathetic stupidity of a population too self absorbed and spoilt to take the time to seek information about candidates for themselves.

The candidates were all contactable and information freely available but it took just a little effort on the individual voters part to find it.

It is the responsibility of us all to protect our democracy by being aware of that which affects our daily lives ,which means taking time to research that of which we are not sure to make informed decisions when the time comes to vote .

Unfortunately the population at large has become so dependant on being told what to believe in ,the politics of personality and envy and whether an individual is telegenic or not and broadcasts via the media slanted to reflect the opinions of the editorial staff ,it has become all too  easy to lay the blame at someone else’s door for an individuals own lack of motivation or common sense.

Democracy and freedom are hard fought for rights that people in some far off countries  can still only dream about and yearn for.
Yet here we are with a population that preaches democracy but for all intents and purposes are willing to be led by the nose and squeal when elected representatives do something not to their liking.

There is no free ride on anything worthwhile and we need a solid foundation to maintain our freedoms and that means everyone doing their bit when it comes to getting the best people to represent us at election times.

Let’s see what the next general election reveals about the population of this country?