Mike's Minute: Our voting system needs an overhaul

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 20 Oct 2020, 9:44AM

Mike's Minute: Our voting system needs an overhaul

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 20 Oct 2020, 9:44AM

I note calls for changes to election day rules around campaigning. Every time I vote I am reminded what an old world, quaint, and disconnected from our normal life type affair it is.

I enrolled, got my papers to prove my enrolment, but then didn’t get my easy vote card. I didn’t worry, given nothing that’s supposed to come in the mail these days arrives in a way that makes any sense. I sent a parcel to one of the kids the other day. I put so many stamps on it, I was expecting it to be personally choppered. But almost two weeks later it finally turned up a few hundred kilometres down the road at my daughter's place.

My wife's card arrived, still nothing for me. Don't worry they said, it will arrive. It didn’t, but even if it doesn’t, I don’t need it. That obviously begs the question, why have it?

So, I go the bloke at the desk with a stack of papers full of names. He goes through them, I'm not there. So no card, and indeed no enrolment. Fortunately, one of the few changes they have made to voting in this country is you can enrol on the day.

So, I did. It took a while given the person helping me didn’t know how that worked. The paper, the envelopes, the stickers, the instruction cards, someone is making a fortune in printing.

It should be digital, of course, but then the Russians or the Chinese will doctor things. Isn't that the latest fear? So, we've got the tech and the smarts, but we also have the fear and the crooks, so we still act like it's 1976.

Early voting has helped, or has it? They don’t count any faster despite starting at 9am on polling day. And given more and more vote early, how is it they vote mid campaign amid the promises and the arm twisting, and yet those who vote on the Saturday aren't allowed to hear a word? It makes no sense.

I've always liked the American judicial practice of being able to talk to jurors. Was it unanimous? Why was he guilty or not? Was there much debate? Insight is always useful, and what have we got to fear from information?

In Australia they stand outside polling areas handing out leaflets, and Australia doesn’t seem adversely affected by it.

It's just a decision. You're entitled to it, you can make up your mind anyway you like, it doesn’t have to be a mystery and all steeped in weird practice. Exit polls are good as well, why not have them? What are we afraid of?

But between the lost card ,the lack of enrolment, the forests of paper, cardboard, pens, the slow counting, and arcane rules, the whole process is ripe for a renovation.