Diary of an Enthusiastic Local Election Voter

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Policy

Ranking candidates is quickly becoming a very complex undertaking requiring spreadsheets – shouldn’t voting be so difficult?

Mid-September 2022

Wait, wait… I read all the different online scan tools about my local corps candidates. The family takes a walk and surveys local bulletin boards. One guy includes a photo of his toddler and compares his leaky diapers to Wellington pipe woes – that’s rock bottom for the campaign trail if you ask me. Tory Whanau, we agree, takes great shots and extra points for being a woman in a sea of ​​men for mayor. We go home and read votes 1, 2, the demands of regional council candidates Thomas Nash and Yadana Saw – political geeks that we are.

Later, my 13-year-old son and I assess the damage that appears on billboards in our neighborhood. The cock and balls on Paul Eagle’s face, while lacking in creativity, got the teenager points for his “old school charm”.

The terrible tin contraption on a rickety post doing service like our mailbox has been checked a number of times. Still no ballots.

September 20

The ballots are coming! The children grab the candidate’s brochure with joy – after the various colorful brochures we have received in the mail, they are enthusiastic about the contents of the profile book. They don’t have to read far to find the most unbalanced candidate profile. That someone pays $500 to become a candidate and write a pitch mostly in equations is part of the fun of local elections.

September 21

The family group chat is training well as my siblings share their rankings for mayoral candidates and local councilors. We discuss how to classify five people who are all equally problematic. Do not classify at all or classify everyone by trying to find the least strange? As a family heavily invested in protected cycle lanes so our children can get around Wellington more independently, someone asks, “How do you know who’s anti-cycling if they don’t say so?”

There are many hurdles between obtaining the ballots, filling them out and posting them – life gets in the way. On top of that, there is no one-day “event” to make it seem like an important or meaningful thing that we do as citizens.

The classification of candidates quickly becomes a very complex job requiring spreadsheets because there are quite opaque profiles. In the end, my brother uses a color-coded system with post-its: green for legit partiers, yellow for freelancers with blurbs that mostly suggest thinking straight, blue for freelancers with blurbs “that the f**k knows” and red — well, there’s a reason he’s red.

I vote! And yes, I categorize everyone because that’s the kind of person I am. I hide the envelope.

Damn it! I put the papers in the envelope the wrong way round so I wouldn’t see the return address. Reopen and stick with Sellotape.

September 21 to September 27

Rolling and walking around town for a week looking for a fucking mailbox. Whenever I have to physically post something, it’s inevitable that the poor letter will languish at the bottom of my bag for days as I search the local streets for a mailbox.

On Sunday, I walk past what appears to be the last remaining mailbox in my neighborhood of town and post the now badly-damaged ballots. Hit!

Surely it shouldn’t be so hard to vote? I wonder if the voter turnout for local body elections is low, partly because it is so difficult? When you send out research questionnaires, you’re thrilled if you get 30% responses. Local body elections are basic, just fill out a form and return it. There are many hurdles between obtaining the ballots, filling them out and posting them – life gets in the way. On top of that, there is no one-day “event” to make it seem like an important or meaningful thing that we do as citizens. In general elections, we get to run on a certain day, there are cultural norms and rituals that are associated with the importance of being able to vote in a democracy. It’s the kind of stuff that humans enjoy as social beings.

In summary, I suggest more fun and less dependence on sending letters. Until then, vote – and locate your nearest mailbox well before the October 8 deadline.

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