Thursday, June 20, 2019

Letting the people vote

Today the New Zealand Government announced important changes for the 2020 General Election, changes that will make it easier for people to both register and to vote. They are very good changes.

The changes are:
  • Election-day enrolment (“same day enrolment”);
  • More voting places where people live, work and play, such as supermarkets;
  • Making it easier for New Zealanders to vote from overseas;
  • Strengthening measures to protect the electoral process in the event of a significant emergency or national disaster.
Justice Minister Andrew Little said:
“New Zealanders deserve to have their votes counted. Nearly half of voters are now exercising their right to vote prior to election day. Those early voters are able to both enrol and vote at the ballot box. It’s only fair that people who vote on election day have the same right to enrol as those casting an early vote.”
This change will treat early voting and election day the same way, which will make it easier for people to vote. In the past, younger voters often missed the registration deadline and were unable to vote. While I don’t expect that to be a problem this election, and we could see a record turnout for younger voters, it’s nevertheless important to make the registration process consistent and easy.

Andrew Little added:
“Putting ballot boxes in supermarkets and malls will make it easier for people to vote. It’s important that ballot boxes are placed where people are going about their normal business and can therefore accommodate voting more easily into their busy lives.”
This is a very big deal. In past election, early voting places were usually in places where people wouldn’t necessarily otherwise go. By putting them in shooping malls and grocery stores, which people may go to several times during the early voting period, it will make it easier than ever for people to actually vote. This is a fantastic change.

One of the best ways to change the way things are done is to make sure that voter turnout is as large as possible. To do that, it’s important to make it as easy and efficient as possible to both register and vote.

The most important thing that politicians can do is simple: Let the people vote. These changes go a long way toward making that easier.

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