New Zeland Electoral Role.

I have just received a letter from the electoral commission her in New Zealand informing me that if I qualify as an elector then I am “required by law to be on the electoral roll”. Actually, I do not qualify. Though I will qualify if , as planned, I gain residency in New Zealand later this year. Two thoughts came to mind.

First; I do not know how they knew of me; bank account, driver’s license, house purchase, work visa? But, I am impressed that the electoral commission is sufficiently on the ball to know that I exist. Further, the letter came from a named person with a phone number and an email. An exchange of emails confirmed that I do not [currently] qualify, within a day. How easy is that!

Second; what a good idea to make it compulsory to be on the electoral role. It takes all the debate about sections of society being under-represented on the electoral role completely out of play. Also, it allows time to ensure that the electoral role is not begin tampered with in some way. If there is a rush of registrations leading up to an election, it will inevitably be difficult to check for fraudulent registrations. However, over the parliamentary election cycle, three years here in New Zealand, it is clearly possible to do a more thorough job.