Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Why I Hope that Carmel Sepuloni Pushes for a Second Recount

By  Arthur Monteath-Carr

1) It'll be funny as all get up.

I've since lost the original pic, darn it...

2) I really really really want "Basher" Bennett to get a bloody nose after all her "Oh, I can release confidential WINZ client files to the media with like zero consequences, that's cool" bullshit. Whatever else she is or does, that was a totally uncalled for straight-up dick move.

3) This post on Legal Beagle raises the tantalizing spectre of National losing a seat, leaving Bennett out of government all together. Which is, I'll admit, my Schadenfreude showing, but the resultant dramas would be well worth the $100,000 spent.

4) Actual serious reason: taking the NZ Herald story at face value, there were nearly 400 people who hadn't enrolled who realised, on the day, that they did care very much about who represented them in Parliament, and fronted up to cast a special vote. Emphasis added:

Auckland lawyer Peter Kiely was recount scrutineer for the National Party and said some changes came about because votes allowed on election night might have had a mark in the box rather than a tick.

Kiely revealed 425 declared votes were disallowed - nine were dual votes, 393 ineligible votes and 12 were not authorised by a witness.

"Those 393, not only were they not on the roll in Waitakere, but they weren't enrolled anywhere."

Now, call me crazy, but that is 393 people who the electoral system desperately needs to keep included in the political process. To turn around and say, hey, guys? You don't count. Sorry. Also, learn how to 'tick' better. That attitude is really Not Helping people feel like the political class in this country is prepared to listen to ordinary people.

There are actually quite a few reasons to not enrol to vote. Some of those reasons are even good reasons, like hiding from an abusive ex partner who can track you through the publicly available electoral roll; there is a procedure for having your name taken off the public printed roll, but it involves actually going through the court and getting a protection order and then writing a letter asking to be removed from the roll, and for a lot of people, that process is either too costly, too emotionally draining, or otherwise un-workable for their situation. So they don't enrol to vote.

Some of those reasons are not so good, like you want to keep your killer hydroponics set-up out of the hands of the Police. Which, honestly? They probably already know all about it, and they'll get around to raiding you once they deal with all the complaints politicians are laying at their feet. It's not like cops have copious amounts of free time on their hands or nothing.

I hope Labour does opt for the petition option, not just because it'd be good for my team, but because it'd be good for the process - it'd show the public that their vote does count, no matter what.

With participation numbers dropping every election, we absolutely need to do everything in our collective power to let people be heard, and be seen to be heard, in our political process. New Zealand once had 80% plus participation rates, which is pretty darn good; I always felt we could do better, but that number is nothing to sneeze at.

But when roughly a third of all eligible voters feel like even if they did vote, it wouldn't matter anyway? That says that there's something deeply wrong with the way we talk about and conduct politics in this country that needs fixing.

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