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Was the local body election paper designed following the 2018 technical report?

Stephen Judd made this Official Information request to Auckland Council

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From: Stephen Judd

Dear Auckland Council,

In Technical Report 2018/006 researchers suggested that voting materials be redesigned and/or reworded to promote increased turnout.

Were any of the recommendations in this report adopted for the most recent local body election?

If so, has the Council undertake any work to evaluate their success? And if so, what were the findings of that work?

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Judd

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From: Stephen Judd

Dear Auckland Council,

To clarify my question, this is the report I am talking about:

https://dpmc.govt.nz/sites/default/files...

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Judd

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Auckland Council


Attachment LGOIMA and Privacy Information Sheet 2017.pdf
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Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your request for information about voter turnout recommendations.

I have attached an information sheet on our processes and requirements under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

We will respond to your request within 20 working days of receipt of your request.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Grace Ray ([email address]) on 09 301 0101, quoting reference 8140006466

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The Privacy and LGOIMA team
Auckland Council
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From: Warwick McNaughton
Auckland Council

Hi Stephen

 

I have been asked to reply.

 

To answer your second question first – the council has regularly conducted
research in conjunction with elections.  See:

[1]https://www.knowledgeauckland.org.nz/sea...

 

The most recent research is still to be published and will include
behavioural insights to people’s reactions to different forms of messaging
and before and after surveys of candidates and voters.

 

The council believes the current form of local government elections is too
complicated:

o Different election issues on the one voting document
o Different electoral systems (First Past the Post for all council
elections and STV for DHB elections)

 

There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that voters start filling the
document fine then when they get to the DHB elections, where they have to
rank candidates, it becomes too hard.

 

The council has made submissions about these matters in the past.  For
example:

[2]https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ...

 

The Justice Committee has supported some of the submissions made by the
council in the document.  My reports to the council’s Governing Body on
the “Evaluation of the Auckland Council local government 2019 elections”
and the council’s submission to the “Inquiry into the 2019 Local Elections
and Liquor Licensing Trust Elections, and Recent Energy Trust Elections”
are here:

[3]https://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt...

 

In terms of the specific recommendations you quote:

• Attract attention and interest by adding design features to voting
documents, particularly by:

o Personalising forms as much as possible  - YES – we are required to use
the name and address of the elector as it appears on the electoral roll

o Using handwritten notes to draw in attention  - NO

o Using colour and other design features to direct attention - YES

• Consider how the voting documents and candidate information sources can
be redesigned, breaking the voting process down into simple steps, with
clear connections between them. – YES – In fact our submission to
Parliament seeks to change the law so that the voting document is less
complex

• Include nudges to help people remember to return their voting forms.

 

I hope this helps.  If you have a specific interest and further queries
please feel free to contact me.

 

 

Warwick McNaughton | Principal Adviser - Democracy Services | Deputy
Electoral Officer

DDI [4]09 890 4846 | Extn (46) 4846 | Mobile (Work) [5]021 827 684 |
Mobile (Home) [6]021 191 1009

Auckland Council, Level 25, [7]135 Albert Street, Auckland, Private Bag
92300, Auckland 1142

 

Championing engaged, open and innovative democracy and decision-making for
the diverse communities of Tâmaki Makaurau

 

Visit our website: [8]www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

 

From: Stephen Judd <[9][FOI #12338 email]>
Sent: Sunday, 1 March 2020 5:13 PM
To: Official Information <[10][email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - Was the local body election paper
designed following the 2018 technical report?

 

 

Dear Auckland Council,

 

In Technical Report 2018/006 researchers suggested that voting materials
be redesigned and/or reworded to promote increased turnout.

 

Were any of the recommendations in this report adopted for the most recent
local body election?

 

If so, has the Council undertake any work to evaluate their success? And
if so, what were the findings of that work?

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Stephen Judd

 

 

To clarify my question, this is the report I am talking about:

 

[11]https://dpmc.govt.nz/sites/default/files...

 

6.3 Re-design voting documents with the voter in mind

Behavioural insights shows that stripping out unnecessary ‘friction’ can
significantly boost

take-up of a service or completion of a task.

Auckland Council post-election voter research indicates that significant
improvements in

voter turnout could be achieved by tweaking the design of voting papers
and candidate

information to reduce friction and make the process easier for voters. The
following

suggestions are provided:

• Attract attention and interest by adding design features to voting
documents,

particularly by:

o Personalising forms as much as possible

o Using handwritten notes to draw in attention

o Using colour and other design features to direct attention

• Consider how the voting documents and candidate information sources can
be redesigned,

breaking the voting process down into simple steps, with clear connections

between them.

• Include nudges to help people remember to return their voting forms.

 

 

 

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