Retail democracy comes to seven supermarkets
An experiment to allow early voting at supermarkets is seeming to be a success, but voters will not be able to cast their election-day ballots at supermarkets.
Early voting booths have been installed on a trial basis at seven Auckland supermarkets, and reaction has been called positive. New World Victoria Park, one of the supermarkets trialling early voting booths, had done a steady trade in voting, manager Josh Prince said.
An electoral law quirk around not placing voting booths inside businesses selling alcohol means early voting stations are in store car parks. Despite the positive feedback to supermarket polling, the booths will not be open on election day.
Otago University politics lecturer and political commentator Dr Bryce Edwards said not expanding the supermarket early voting trial to election day highlighted ‘‘contradictions’’ in the Electoral Commission’s turnout strategy.
‘‘No doubt increasing turnout [is] their prime goal, making voting more accessible reducing barriers, they’re trying new things. Yes, the supermarket booths are a new thing but they’re not doing them for election day, we’ve got changes happening but it’s not consistent.’’
The Electoral Commission is running early voting booths outside some supermarkets.