Belive in a democracy and so have the right to choose who we want to govern un by free ballot. The process is over for another four years. But what is the outcome and how’d we the people stack up as we exercised our right? This analysis might come as a bit of a shock to many of you as it is far from flattering.
In short,we can say this election was a disaster.
Some will say that we got a result snd this is what was required. But it was the way that we got the result that will be the focus of this analysis.
From the start the election was to,be driven in many different ways. We can say there whereto main ways of going about the task. These two ways might be considered as the opposite ends of a straight line. At one end were those who knew what to do to get their way. But on the other end were those who had no real plans. In between there were somewhat, at times what to do but at other times had little or no plans as to how to do what was needed. So we faced a huge number all vying for a few positions.
With this as the background we list some of the problems and issues people had to face
1.Unprepared candidates waste time
2.Size of there field leads to apathy.
3 Numbers cause confusion
4. Budgets swam people
5.Unprepared candidates waste time
By putting their names forward people are saying I could do better. When many people do it could be that they are unhappy with past performance. Or to be cynical they se the chance to get in on a perk.
So what of those who put their names forward this time ? Forty five people took there plunge but we do not know just why the did so. Some would tell of their reasons. But many would roll out the same old election “guff” welcome to expect. And there would be a disappointing number who did not even thing to tell us why we should vote for them. So why did they bother to stand in there first place? Their lack of commitment would flow on to the community. Many did not know the candidates . Some did not consider it necessary to supply the media and the public with any detail. They had no presence at the booths on Election Day. A wing and a prayer was the way these people hoped to win a spot on council. This is not good enough.
Size of the field leads to apathy.
When many stand for office thee number of voters who elect to opt out rises. This means they do not even bother go to vote. But for some the threat of being fined will mean they will go to the booth but not fill in the voting paper. There register some form of protest. We have no way of knowing if such protest is against the system or if it against the quality of those standing. WE have no way of knowing if it is because there cannot choose or if they do not want to chose.
Another factor is the actual decision making process. Time for some people is of the essence. Or it might be they simply do not know how to vote. Or they might even think I am not a complete dummy so I will number the paper and not return a blank slip. Whatever the reason they cast a vote known as a donkey vote. They simply vote by placing a mark on the first square on the paper. This gives advantage to the person drawing the first spot for it gives them votes they might not otherwise get.
This is apathy and it is present in every election. With such a high percentage it is of little wonder the candidate in the first spot won every booth. It is a very poor reflection on the people of Coffs Harbour to be one of the highest contributors to the donkey vote.
It is a sad reflection on the candidates who stood.
Numbers cause confusion.
A valid vote requires a voter to number the right number of squares. The voter can choose between above the line or below the line. Above the line was intended to make voting simpler but it is possible it is a major contributor to apathy. Many a good candidate is not the top of the ticket and can miss out if above the line voting is used.
A ticket is a group of people who have similar ideals. By standing on a ticket it gives the group a right to decide on the way any surplus votes are handled but this only occurs if the voter uses the above the line approach. In many instances the voter remains unaware of any deal worked out with other groups.
Below the line requires the voter to make the choice of how the vote ends up in the final outcome. This is done by using numbers to show preference of one over another.
In Australia we use numbers and it requires people who know how to count. So why then did people get it so wrong in the last election? When this happens it is an informal vote but this time in Coffs Harbour it is abnormally high. Some booths record a rate in the range over 20%. So it means 1 out of every 5 people cast an informal vote and these figures come before there is any distribution of preferences. So it is not a counting issue. So was it a protest of come sort?
Did these people not know how to count? Did they do something else to their ballot paper such as adding a comment and this caused it to be invalid? We may never know.
Perhaps a message of only put ticks in the (state) number of squares has more merit than using numbers.
Budgets swamp people
There can be no doubt the size of the budget some of the tickets had was a main factor in getting the result. It happens in every election and is used to distract. It is the same election “guff” that we get all the time. Glib statements and promises they have little intention of honouring. It is a tactic used by those desperate for power.
In most cases once elected things go back as before. The public are hoodwinked. What do you expect will happen this rime round?
The votes were cast and counted. The result is clear between them. The party of apathy and informal will get three seats out of nine. This will be enough to force their views on an unsuspecting public who so readily almost gave them a mandate.
This proves Coffs Harbour is up there with the best of them. It records one of the highest in formal votes and one of the strongest donkey votes in all of New South Wales. What a record we have.
Readers of the blog will no doubt be a little shocked. But those who voted for apathy and informal will probably even take time to check the outcome. They will just complain for another four years.