Re­tail democ­racy comes to seven su­per­mar­kets

Manukau Courier - - HEALTH & BEAUTY - SI­MON MAUDE

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.’’

SI­MON MAUDE

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion is run­ning early vot­ing booths out­side some su­per­mar­kets.

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