Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


‘No contest’ election could lead to fewer young voters

‘No contest’ election could lead to fewer young voters


If young people who are newly eligible to vote don’t exercise that right in this year’s election it could lead to them avoiding the ballot box for many years, research shows.

Less than half of the New Zealand population aged between 18 and 30 voted in the last general election. According to Jack Vowles, a professor of comparative politics at Victoria University of Wellington, elections won on wide margins with few policy differences are associated with lower turnout and new voters in particular are less likely to vote when elections are not close.

“This is of concern because international research tells us that voting and non-voting are matters of habit. So if young people who are newly eligible to vote fail to exercise their democratic right because they think it’s a shoe-in for National, as polls are currently indicating, they could easily continue this habit of not voting, even when they might encounter closer elections later in life.”

Professor Vowles is also concerned that people perceive ‘closeness’ in terms of the difference between Labour and National vote intentions, without taking alternative parties into consideration.

“Labour’s recent failure to confirm a potential coalition with the Green Party could play into this misperception, as did the unwillingness of the major party leaders to debate with the leaders of other parties in the 2008 and 2011 campaigns. As a result, many people may underestimate the possible closeness of the 2014 election, much as they did in 2011.”

At a conference yesterday, focused on improving voter turnout in New Zealand and organised by the Electoral Commission, Professor Vowles began a panel discussion on ‘New Zealand’s non-voters and what we know about them’ by presenting the historical statistical trends of voter behaviour in this country.

He says the last period over which voter turnout significantly increased in New Zealand was 1975 to 1984 during Robert Muldoon’s term as Prime Minister, when, after a period of decline, turnout increased dramatically over four successive elections.

“Party membership numbers rose, new parties and new issue dimensions entered politics, and election results were extremely close,” explains Professor Vowles.

“Political parties differed in their promises, and the country was deeply divided on several major issues about which large numbers of people cared deeply.”

Professor Vowles is cautious about introducing measures such as internet voting. “What seems clear from the international literature is that voting is a social act. Reforms to electoral administration that might make it more of an individual act, such as internet voting, might actually make things worse.”
Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news