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Major drop in 'discarded votes'

5 October 2005

Major drop in 'discarded votes' may show better understanding of MMP

Maxim Institute is encouraged to see that the final number of votes cast for parties which didn't make it into Parliament (discarded votes) has dropped dramatically; from 4.9 percent in 2002 to 1.3 percent in 2005. It is likely this shows a better understanding of MMP.

"We worked hard to communicate the 'know what you are voting for' message throughout the election campaign, which includes knowing the impact of your vote under MMP", says Maxim Institute Managing Director, Greg Fleming.

"One of Maxim's objectives in participating in the build-up to the 2005 election, on radio, TV, through the website, MMP DVD and the 29 Political Forums we organised which were attended by over 6,000 people - was to see an improved understanding of the electoral system and a drop in the number of discarded votes", says Fleming.

Nearly five percent of voters in the 2002 election cast votes which did not cross the required threshold. We wanted to ensure the electorate understood the impact of a discarded vote this election", says Greg Fleming.

"Maxim Institute believes that an informed citizenry is vital to preserving freedom in democracy. It is reasonable to assume that the drop in discarded votes shows more New Zealanders understood the impact of their vote under MMP, and that has to be a good thing", says Fleming.


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