Free to vote or not

Local Government New Zealand is looking at making voting compulsory following a disappointing turnout this year.

There is a danger in that. It will increase the quantity of votes casts but there’s no guarantee it will have any impact on the quality and might even make it worse.

People who are already so disengaged from local body politics they choose to not vote or simply don’t bother are hardly likely to take a more intelligent interest simply because they’re compelled to do something with a voting paper.

I’d prefer councils chosen by a minority of voluntary voters to those chosen by a majority voting under duress.

If we are truly free to vote then we must also be free to not vote should we choose to.

4 Responses to Free to vote or not

  1. Paranormal says:

    Just shows how blinkered and entrenched the thinking at local government is. Instead of making voting compulsory have they considered identifying and then addressing the cause of the low voter turnouts? Of course that would then entail the jobsworths having to look in the mirror.

    The issue seems to be councils have successfully disenfranchised voters by making voters/rate payers feel that it is a waste of time. Regardless of who is elected, the unelected officials are able to run amok without any sort of constraint.


  2. Neil says:

    One of the major problems is that most people have no idea who to vote for because they lack knowledge about candidates in local body elections.
    In my case I didn’t know any of the Southland candidates for the Southern Health Board.
    General Elections have the protection of party labels, where I think I know what I get with National,Labor,Greens.
    In the Local Govt sector you don’t know that. You don’t know who is a team player or who is there for the ego.
    I somehow think that each candidates could have a
    party label. I said “could” not should. Independents in theory are better simply because local government is local , not national.
    People need to campaign for local government by getting out and meeting the people.Large election areas like DHB regions are just hopeless.
    On line voting would be no better


  3. Roger says:

    The actual issue is the poor quality of the candidates and the poor democracy observed universally of councils.


  4. Armchair Critic says:

    If we are truly free to vote then we must also be free to not vote should we choose to..
    Absolutely. And the silly idea that the act of not voting somehow disqualifies a citizen from holding and expressing an opinion needs to be consigned to the rubbish bin, where it belongs, too.


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