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On the length of a piece of string – or the dobbing in of cheating cheats

By johnboy - 18 October 2008 103

[First filed: October 16, 2008 @ 13:34]

A growing number of readers are getting in touch reporting that operatives of political parties are handing out election material inside the 100m exclusion zone around polling places.

Questioning these operatives about their practice is in most cases met with abuse or lies.

Elections ACT was moved yesterday to issue a media release announcing that Polling Area Managers now have a 100m piece of string with which to police the boundary.

Reports from the field suggest they’re still struggling with this one.

So please. If you see an operative too close to a polling place take a photo of them and send it in to images@the-riotact.com

UPDATED: As 100 metres seems to be a concept beyond many party workers we’ve decided to help them out. My flatmate and I have just been down to the Dickson oval 100 metre running track and here’s what the distance looks like (also proving that it takes a RiotACT Overlord about a minute and half to walk 100m backwards):

Another Update: Jon Reynolds has sent in a photo of the electoral commissioner with an officially measured piece of string. Enjoy:

Further Update: That white building, at most 50 metres behind Zed is the Baker Gardens polling place in Ainslie. He’s not alone, the Greens’ Shane Rattenbury and fellow Liberal Belinda Barnier are in the same cluster.

Got more? Send them in to images@the-riotact.com

What’s Your opinion?


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103 Responses to
On the length of a piece of string – or the dobbing in of cheating cheats
caf 2:16 pm 16 Oct 08

You think the solution to “most people don’t give a toss” is to pander to their laziness?

Wino 2:16 pm 16 Oct 08

there’s a tazer attached to one end of the string, right?

fhakk 2:15 pm 16 Oct 08

Oh quit your whinging – do you hear any ‘civilians’ complaining about this 100m law? I don’t think so. The only people who are making a big deal of it are those actively involved in this weekend’s election.

Campaign managers take note – just let the issue rest. Most members of the public would not want to be harassed when waiting to vote. In Sydney, you have to run the gauntlet of all these people pushing pieces of paper into your hands, jostling for position.

I for one appreciate the fact that, at least in the ACT elections, I don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff.

Jonathon Reynolds 2:14 pm 16 Oct 08

@justbands

justbands said :

That’s the problem with the entire system….MOST voters WANT to vote for a party, not an individual.

I doubt you speak for MOST voters nor would you know what those individuals WANT.

Given we have multi-member electorates, I beleive that they ought to do away with columns for parties. All candidates, regardless of party, should be randomly distributed across the entire ballot sheet.

justbands 2:10 pm 16 Oct 08

> Maybe if people paid more attention to the INDIVIDUALS they’re electing we’d have a better standard of individuals in the assembly?

You see, that’s the problem. Most people are stupid. Most people really don’t give a toss. Any system that needs the voters to be so educated about the candidates is always going to be wrong. People don’t care. They want to walk in thinking “I’m voting Green/Libs/whatever” & not think about what that means. They don’t care if the candidates name is Bob or Mary, they only care what party they are in. They want someone to hand them a card telling them how to vote, or they want to be able to tick a box saying “This party”.

Gungahlin Al 2:07 pm 16 Oct 08

“This is a silly rule that discriminates against minor parties and independants, 100m exclusions are over the top and pointless. We can manage to be within 100m everywhere else in the country, and even here for federal elections.”

I disagree Verbal. I think it helps those candidates who don’t have the party machine behind them whistling up dozens of helpers – especially through pre-poll periods.

It also substantially reduces printing costs for HTVs – as a person who has handed out HTVs on too many occasions I can attest to the majority of people being repulsed by them. But when they are allowed, you are crazy not to have them there.

(As an aside, I once got a post-election email from someone saying “you didn’t have anyone at my booth handing anything out so I had to vote for someone else.”)

It could be argued though that with a difficult and large electorate like Molonglo, the alternative mailout costs are higher…

caf 2:05 pm 16 Oct 08

And then you’d complain about how secret preference deals conducted in smokey rooms were causing strange candidates with only a few hundred first preference votes to get elected.

Maybe if people paid more attention to the INDIVIDUALS they’re electing we’d have a better standard of individuals in the assembly?

justbands 2:01 pm 16 Oct 08

> The intention behind the rule is to maintain the concept that we vote for individual candidates, not a party list.

That’s the problem with the entire system….MOST voters WANT to vote for a party, not an individual.

caf 1:57 pm 16 Oct 08

The intention behind the rule is to maintain the concept that we vote for individual candidates, not a party list. It’s the same reason we don’t have above-the-line voting, and multiple ballot papers are printed with a different order of candidates within the columns.

justbands 1:53 pm 16 Oct 08

> So please. If you see an operative too close to a polling place take a photo of them and send it in to images@the-riotact.com

It’s a stupid rule in any case. I’m more likely to thank them (assuming they are from the party I aim to vote for) & go about my day..smiling & happy.

Jazz 1:52 pm 16 Oct 08

Quick update from Elections ACT.

The 100m rule is from the building. Wall, Front door, back door doesnt matter as long as there is no cavassing within 100m (technically as the crow flies, although the string is a useful tool being employed here).

Canvassing within that boundary can be reported directly to Elections ACT, or to the office in charge at each polling booth.

It would seem that the OIC will take action and ask the offending canvassers to move on and have the authority to call the police in to forcedly remove offenders if asking nicely doesnt work.

Whether any penalties would be enforced after that is anyones guess.

I thought it quite amusing that about 30mins ago i suggested to some liberal canvassers that they might be within 100m of pilgim house by handing out material on the same block. They angrily invited me to pace it out and I was a little disappointed that they’d disappeared before i’d finished.

tom-tom 1:50 pm 16 Oct 08

as i said yesterday; if a candidate isn’t doing absolutely everything they can to gain an unfair advantage then they bloody well should be

Skidbladnir 1:49 pm 16 Oct 08

Okay, if they’re being so pedantic as string measuring and you want photos…
Where is the ‘polling place’, is it the hall with the ballot box, is is the ballot box, is it the modesty booth, is it the building that holds them all, is it the door -into- that building, in the case of schools where you enter to vote and wind your way through coridoors, is it the door to the school?

Simpler idea
Why not just generate some Google Earth\Maps apps to project a 100m ring around every polling place, and say “Step inside that zone carrying election material and you’re fucked”?

verbalkint 1:47 pm 16 Oct 08

Seriously?

Of all the things, in all the world that are worth worrying about, this is surely a very, very long way down the list.

This is a silly rule that discriminates against minor parties and independants, 100m exclusions are over the top and pointless. We can manage to be within 100m everywhere else in the country, and even here for federal elections.

Seems like an aweful waste of the polling managers time, not to mention your contributors!

Jonathon Reynolds 1:46 pm 16 Oct 08

And it was only yesterday people were accusing me of being a pedant on exactly this matter! Sheesh!

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