Elec­toral sys­tems for online learn­ers

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

If you think you need to be a math­e­ma­ti­cian to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween list MPs and sup­ple­men­tary mem­bers and a geek to care, help is at hand.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion has set up an in­ter­ac­tive web­site to help peo­ple learn about the var­i­ous elec­toral sys­tems be­fore they have to vote for one on Novem­ber 26.

At the gen­eral elec­tion polling booths a ref­er­en­dum will ask vot­ers whether they want the present mixed-mem­ber pro­por­tional (MMP) rep­re­sen­ta­tion sys­tem to con­tinue, or a change.

If change is wanted they will be asked to choose be­tween first past the post (FPP), pref­er­en­tial vot­ing (PV), sup­ple­men­tary mem­ber (SM) or sin­gle trans­fer­able vote (STV).

Chief elec­toral of­fi­cer Robert Pe­den said vot­ers less than 35 years old, to­talling more than a mil­lion, will have never ex­pe­ri­enced any sys­tem but MMP.

The com­mis­sion has be­gun a two-stage process of in­form­ing vot­ers on the up­com­ing poll.

‘‘Phase two will see a re­ally in­tense TV, ra­dio, online and print cam­paign to make sure that, un­less you’re liv­ing in a very deep hole, by the time you go to the polls on Novem­ber 26, you will know there is a ref­er­en­dum on, you will know what it’s about and you will know where to get in­for­ma­tion on it,’’ he said.

The site steps vis­i­tors through an in­ter­ac­tive se­quence in­form­ing them in a va­ri­ety of ways, in­clud­ing text, an­i­ma­tions and quizzes.

It shows them how to de­cide which sys­tem is good for them, the me­chan­ics of the sys­tems, what types of govern­ment each sys­tem tends to de­liver and al­lows any two sys­tems to be matched against one an­other.

If elec­tors opt to keep MMP, there will be a Par­lia­men­tary re­view of MMP next year.

If not, Par­lia­ment will de­cide whether there will be an­other ref­er­en­dum to choose a sys­tem and what form it might take.

Visit ref­er­en­dum.org.nz or youtube.com/Ref­er­en­dumNZ.

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