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Voting

Entry 65, on 2004-10-11 at 09:31:25 (Rating 2, News)

Several interesting elections were held over the weekend but the one that affects us most was the local body elections held in New Zealand. Maybe I will comment on the elections in Australia and Afghanistan later.

There have been two issues discussed here, with great consternation. First, the lower participation in the election process; and second, the validity and practicality of the single transferable vote (STV) proportional voting system.

The voter turnout looked like it might be as low as 30% to 40% at one time, but in the end it was about 50%. Some people have suggested we should have compulsory participation in elections, but others have said that is counter-productive.

Should people have to vote if they don't want to? I don't think so, because if someone doesn't want to vote they are unlikely to make a sensible decision. I know that in a pure sense everyone should vote, but I believe that some people are doing everyone a favour by not voting! Also, democracy is supposed to be about freedom and choice. Its sort of an oxymoron to say we have a "compulsory democracy" isn't it?

The STV system is complicated in the way it operates behind the scenes, but the actual process the voters are required to complete is really simple. I support proportional systems (we use both MMP and STV in new Zealand) and I think it should continue. If a voter can't even figure out how to rank a few candidates, they probably shouldn't even be voting!

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