Bugger our electoral laws

No blogs I read allowed political comments yesterday, because our electoral law is an outdated piece of crap which probably served us OK in the days when “political statements” were restricted to newspaper editorials and hoardings.

These days?  Sorry, everyone, I think it’s just bloody demeaning to everyone’s intelligence for the Electoral Commission to pretend that if I refrain from saying “VOTE LEFT YOU BASTARDS” on 26 November, you will somehow all not remember all the pro-left posts I have made in the lead-up to this election, or not know who DPF/lprent/Lew/Danyl are hoping will get the victory when they say “get the vote out”.

(They, like me, may very well truly believe that democracy is best served by a high turnout, no matter who that vote supports; but we all still have our obvious biases.)

It’s especially bullshit when our media, who cannot ask political questions of politicians on election day (and those politicians cannot make political statements themselves) still follow John Key to the polling booth (not in his own electorate, of course) asking questions like “what are your dinner plans” …

When everyone, left and right, who comments on politics knows full fucking well that John Key presenting himself as Nice Guy Who Has Pizza And Beer On A Saturday Night is a political statement, and is designed to influence people’s votes, and is probably a lot more effective than the scandalous idea that Phil Goff (special voting in his electorate which he doesn’t live in either) might say “Yeah, I voted Labour today.”

And yes, I very much appreciate the fact that people should be able to go and vote without getting spammed, harassed, having political advertising drilled into their heads.

But making social media users tweeting to their 20 friends “Just voted Mana/ACT/Greens/ALCP! Woo!” criminals while mainstream media with audiences of hundreds of thousands get off scot-free continuing to push political-advertising-via-personality-facades, just because our law wants to treat us like we don’t know when we’re being advertised to, or won’t be affected by an advertisement unless it includes the words “vote”, “choose”, or “tick”, pisses me off.


  1. notafeminist

    While I agree that the electoral laws are outdated, I think it should definitely swing in the direction of not allowing *any* public political stunts by politicians until 7pm. The reason for this is that so many of my facebook friends with 1000+ friends were commenting on things like the referendum and leaving messages like “vote left or die”. I firmly believe there needs to be one day in the electoral cycle where someone should be able to think about who they want to vote without being battered by biased messages (and yes, following John Key to the voting booth and asking him what’s for dinner is a biased message).

    I definitely don’t think we should allow *any* direct politicising on election day, whether online or on a lapel pin or directly or indirectly. People who aren’t as privileged as us, people who don’t have the luxury of easy access to all political rebuttal, people who aren’t lucky enough to be able to think about the election when they’re busy trying put food on the table – these people deserve one day when no one, anywhere, is going to try and sway their vote. There needs to be one day where it doesn’t matter how rich you are, you don’t hold any power over someone else’s vote.

    • QoT

      I think it needs to be one way or the other, but the main issue with banning *everything* (including asking John Key what his dinner plans are) is that it ignores the reality of social media.

      If on election day The Standard still has a post at the bottom of its front page about why one of their writers is voting Green, or Kiwiblog has a “recent comments” function on its front page which links to a post about the referendum … is that breaking the law? Is that really as huge an imposition on a person’s thoughts as a hoarding, or having John Key’s face as the default image for TV3 election coverage?

      As I said in the post, I think pretending that people will not be influenced by what they’ve already seen and heard leading up to the election, and that a single day free of hoardings will magically erase all that previous pressure and messaging from their heads, is farcical.