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Kerre Woodham: The Electoral Commission is too incompetent to be corrupt

Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Fri, 10 Nov 2023, 2:15pm
Photo / File
Photo / File

Kerre Woodham: The Electoral Commission is too incompetent to be corrupt

Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Fri, 10 Nov 2023, 2:15pm

I am absolutely confident that there is no corruption within our Electoral Commission.  
I do not believe for one wild second that they have been manipulating the voting system to get the result they want. Nor do I believe that they're being paid by Russia to produce the results Russia wants. And the reason I'm so confident is that they are so incompetent they wouldn't be able to deliver on the contract.  

They simply wouldn't be able to do it.  

The Electoral Commission has confirmed that along with three voting places that awarded votes to the wrong party, (this was a Herald investigation that found that three booths had wrongly assigned hundreds of votes to fringe parties, while the National Party received none) the data entry error led to hundreds of votes being assigned to the Leighton Baker Party and the New Conservatives, so the Electoral Commission said oops, soz, let's have a look at other places and they've confirmed there are 15 vote places that have entered data incorrectly.  

They have had weeks to double check these results too. It's not like it happened overnight and they're just checking now - 15 vote places that have entered data incorrectly and a whole box of votes from the East Coast was forgotten about entirely. Good one. 

See what I mean? Could the Electoral Commission really come up with a cunning plan and execute it efficiently? I doubt it.  

And what are we doing with Excel spreadsheets anyway? What are we doing entering data into an Excel spreadsheet? Why aren't we using computers for heavens sake?  

National’s Campaign Chair Chris Bishop told Mike Hosking this morning that these stuff ups with the votes come on top of other issues, like the computer system going down and rural voting places being closed on Election Day. And he says it's not good enough. 

I'm coming around to the view that we need to do a short, sharp ministerial inquiry the moment the new Government formed into the events of the 2023 election to get to the bottom of exactly what's happened, and then of course, you know, things will flow from those consequences and improvements.  

In totality it's a very messy election and you know we are one of the longest unbroken democracies in the world and you know New Zealand share confidence in the electoral system and the integrity behind it You know, there's just a whole series of messy incidents that add up to not a good look for New Zealand. 

No, it's not a good look. And we've got to have confidence in the democratic process.  

It's bad enough when you've got all those barking mad individuals in the United States, including Trump himself, who are going, oh, it's all rigged and you know, the Russians are buying votes, and you can't trust the electoral system. It's ridiculous.  

And yet, when you have stuff ups like this, it does undermine the confidence you have in our democratic processes and when you have marginal seats where people are only declared the winner by 4 votes or by 29 votes, or by 129 votes, then every single vote counts.  

I'm sure there were plenty of people working for the Electoral Commission who did a jolly good job. Those who worked hard did what they were supposed to do, like enter the votes correctly for the right party, and are probably burning hearing about these numpties in other voting places who've let the team down so badly.  

There must be an inquiry, as much as I'm sick to death of reviews and inquiries and commissions and working groups and the like. There does need to be an inquiry to find out what went wrong? How did it go so wrong? And how do we ensure it does not happen again?  

So, I'm with Chris Bishop on that. But how did it go wrong and did we have people who could enroll on the day which delays everything as well? Time for computer voting?  

Seriously. Data hackers couldn't do much worse than the pencil wielders who were in the voting places this year. 

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