Last-minute enrolments a bane or a benefit

In a series of posts published on Twitter on October 12 a person who went by the pseudonym...
Photo: ODT files
Here's a little test. Should citizens be allowed to enrol and cast a vote on the final election day?

Or should rolls close earlier?

Special votes with enrolments or enrolment updates while voting can take up to 10 times longer to process.

This is a major reason, it emerged last week, for many counting errors.

An unexpectedly large number of last-minute enrolments overwhelmed staff.

The final result took three weeks — it used to be two — to be confirmed and was completed under pressure and without sufficient checking.

All told, 650,000 votes (21% of the total) including those from overseas were specials.

There were 100,000 enrolments on the last voting day.

One solution would be to spend more and beef up staff numbers.

Another would be to reinstate an earlier enrolment deadline.

Enrolling on the last day was brought in for the 2020 election.

Compare your preferred option with the way you vote.

What’s the bet, most of those who voted Labour, Greens or Te Pāti Māori, at least once they heard the arguments, will agree with the parties that democracy is best served by maximum participation.

Some might go as far as Greens co-leader Chloe Swarbrick that ‘‘any imposed barrier is rightfully open to serious criticism of voter suppression’’ just as occurred in parts of the United States.

Younger and less privileged voters are more likely to be among the late and last-day enrollers.

Act New Zealand, New Zealand First and National voters are most likely to favour a deadline.

One argument is that there are lots of opportunities to enrol and correct postal addresses.

Registering also takes place well before the last election day in most countries, including in Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. ‘

It is 37 days before in France.

Why should more money through a lot of extra staff be pumped into already expensive elections just because some people put off the many opportunities to enrol?

It is no surprise who gains most from specials.

Last year the Greens won one more seat and Te Pāti Māori two. National lost two as it did in 2020.

In that election, Labour and Te Pāti Maori won one more each.

Parties and supporters, consciously or subconsciously, will sway with their self-interest.

We create and formulate good reasons to match our benefits and prejudices, and this is a classic case.

Civis does it, and so do nearly all of us. We are, largely, emotional rather than rational creatures.


The language corner this week remains on pronunciation.

We will try to get to the root of the problem over how to say route, as in Route 66, a road or path.

Civis says route as in beetroot.

It is surprising, though, how many in New Zealand go with route as in rout, like the chaotic retreat.

It hasn’t reached the stage where route (root) has been routed, but the more common British pronunciation is losing ground.

Route as in rout is another example of advancing Americanisms because that way of saying the word is more common in the United States.

To confuse matters further, routers in our homes connect devices to the internet.

If we pronounced them one way with the er on the end we might receive odd looks.

Yet, routers have their name because they choose the best ‘‘route’’ for packages of electronic information.


A fresh Passing Notes feature this week looks at observations of our changing world.

The examples today pick up on the tech theme. They’re through the eyes of a boy aged nearly 4.

Passing some letterboxes, he pointed to the holes and said: ‘‘That’s where emails go’’.

Earlier, a plugged-in desk lamp cord was in the way. ‘‘It’s charging,’’ he said.

Readers are welcome to email their quirky examples of change and happenstance.

Just don’t poke them where hard-copy letters are supposed to go.