In an earlier post I addressed the reason why I was opposing Bill 20: Election Amendment Act 2015. As mentioned earlier, Bill 20 implements a number of the recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer in his October 2014 report. However, only one of the Chief Electoral Officer’s three priority recommendations was implemented, and that concerned providing flexibility in opportunities for advance voting. One egregious addition to the bill not recommended by the Chief Electoral Officer and opposed by the Privacy Commissioner is new language that allowed political parties to obtain a list of voters that indicates which voters on the list voted in a previous general election. This list would be available between general elections.
Today in the legislature we debated the bill at committee stage. Government introduced an amendment that, in an attempt to create a level playing field for independent members wishing to run for office, took the privacy concerns to a whole new level. Now government is proposing that any candidate who ran in the previous election or is running in an upcoming election can obtain the list of voters that indicates which voters on the list voted in a previous general election. Obviously I continue to vigourously oppose this bill as I believe that it is nobody’s business apart from the voter and the chief electoral officer to know who or who has not voted. That’s a matter of privacy.