We are disappointed in the Electoral Amendment Bill more for what it doesn't do than what it does.
We support the Bill's intention to make it easier for eligible people to vote. The right to vote is a key part of our democracy and is protected in section 12 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act. However there is more to it than just making enrolment available up until election day or expanding the type of places where people can vote.
Our submission (see attached PDF) addresses a number of areas that we think the bill should have covered.
Most importantly, there is no doubt in our mind that this was the right time to take into account the decisions of the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal and restore the ability of prisoners to exercise their right to vote.
We also recommend:
- Not stripping the right to vote from New Zealanders who have been overseas more than 3 years.
- Making all polling places accessible to those who need to use mobility aids.
- Reducing the eligible voting age to 16