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Is National Data Mining Our Polling Stations? Why?

Is The National Party Data Mining Our Polling Booths?

By Alastair Thompson - Scoop Co-Editor

Today in Wellington when I voted in Karori a National Party scrutineer took down the page number and line from the electoral role which records my name and address.

Tonight they have a list of all the people who voted at my polling station - Campbell Street- Karori. Has my privacy been invaded? It certainly feels that way.

If this happened to you too today then you may be forgiven for thinking it is normal. It is not.

From later reports received this afternoon it appears that it is certainly widespread in Wellington.

National Party scrutineers informed a Scoop employee Billy Naylor - also working as a scrutineer today in Brooklyn Community Center - that they had been told to collect the information by the party.

One possible explanation for the practice is a sophisticated get out the vote campaign.

What is going to be done with this data? Is it going to be digitised?

Is this intimidatory? It was in the opinion of several voters in neighbourhood.

Theoretically scrutineers are only supposed to be collecting information for the purpose of determining whether it’s a free or fair election, checking for fraud.

Is this data going to be loaded into computers? Is it going to be used to model polling or exit polling/ Is it going to be used for marketing?

My neighbour and cousin Tom today made a complaint to the local polling place chief. He checked the Electoral Act which explicitly neither allows nor prohibits this practice.

The polling place chief escalated the complaint to head office as a matter of urgency. Hopefully we will hear what the story is later this evening.

Noting that it is illegal to create a marketing database from the electoral roles one would imagine that digitising this information could well be illegal.

All of which begs several questions? who instructed the party to collect this information and why? Why did they think this is ok? Is this a sign of the Americanisation of NZ political campaign practice?

(Scoop's election coverage will continue through the evening….)

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