Jacinda has announced the 2020 Election Date and it is September 19th.
Great, but as our participation rate continues to slip, I believe we urgently need to consider a new unique approach to our election day.
Academic research tells us that online voting will not lift participation rates, and the ease of hacking them mean they can never be acceptable, but I believe making the election a mid week public holiday could save our democracy and give us something to celebrate.
We complain so much in this country about not having a day we can celebrate as NZers because many people feel anxious about the conflict of Waitangi Day.
Why not search for that which binds us and celebrate that?
Election Day should be a celebration because we are one of the few privileged nations around the planet that allows political leadership to change hands minus violence and repression.
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) January 22, 2020
Our exercising of the right to vote peacefully is celebration in itself and making it a mid week public holiday would do more for participation rates than any single thing we could do.
Postal voting is a failure, online isn’t trust worthy, an old fashioned polling day with early voting that culminates in a mid week public holiday that everyone can celebrate would bind us and build us like no other idea could.
Imagine a mid week day where the whanau gather and go to vote while gathering at each others homes for the results. We could celebrate our democracy and celebrate us as a people.
We are only talking about 2 Election Days once every 3 years (a local government vote and a central government vote) so any argument that we couldn’t afford the loss of productivity is bullshit.
We need an out of the box idea, not more tinkering at the edges.
Our democracy is precious, it’s worth celebrating, and enabling participation is crucial to its survival and mandate. Making the election day a public holiday Wednesday is how we cement into place the importance of voting.