Apathy front-runner in council elections

Only 15.5 percent of eligible voters in Wellington have voted in the local body elections halfway through the election voting period.

The return rate is even worse in Auckland with only 12.6% of eligible people having voted so far.
Local body elections rarely get the same participation as general elections do but participation in both has been dropping.
The reasons for that are many but I think postal voting, and particularly the length of time people have to vote, might have some impact on council elections.
It’s too easy to miss the envelope or put it somewhere intending to get back to it then forget about it or lose it.
This must be very frustrating to candidates who are putting serious time and money into campaigning.
Some, perhaps many, of those who haven’t voted yet might intend to, but it looks like apathy is the front-runner in council elections at this stage.
There is no easy answer to turning that around, though Keeping Stock points to a Facebook Page Roy Williams for Mayor which seeks to spice the Wanganui mayoral race with satire.

6 Responses to Apathy front-runner in council elections

  1. Quintin Hogg says:

    I can confirm that my wife and I have voted in the Auckland Council elections.
    My view is if you don’t vote you can’t complain.


  2. pdm says:

    mrspdm and I voted yesterday in Hastings District Council, HBDHB and HB Regional Council elections.

    We both agree with QH – if you don’t vote you cannot complain.


  3. Marc Williams says:

    I would point out that voting doesn’t close until 12 October, and in the meantime candidates are politicing, withdrawing, being “exposed”, changing their stance, pork barreling, and destroying their credibility. Why would you vote early when the candidate you may vote for can fit into all or any of the above categories? A week is a long time in politics, so I will be voting at the end of the polling time thanks, and you shouldn’t be critical of those who do this as we are the ones who may be giving the most thought into our choice and weighing up all the information.

    I agree though, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain later.


  4. Armchair Critic says:

    I agree with Marc with respect to timing.
    With regard to the idea that “if you don’t vote you can’t complain”, in its various forms, I disagree.
    The right to complain stems from existence, or if you prefer, citizenship, and it is unconnected to participation in the democratic process. Complaint is protected by freedom of expression, and belief that is forfeited by people who do not vote (for any reason) is a fallacy that is not supported by any reasonable argument.


  5. Viv K says:

    I support both Marc and AC’s comments and would like to add that my 17 and 15 year old daughters aren’t allowed to vote. So QH and pdm, does that mean they aren’t allowed to complain?


  6. Viv K says:

    That question is also for Marc, it’s the 1st part of his comment I agree with.


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