Thursday 21 September 2017

The election asylum

New Zealand is mostly the Outside of the Asylum. The rules around what you can and can't do on election day - not so much. Lots of things are banned.

Back in 2011, I'd written:
How about using clever special characters to tweet the binomial formulation of the voter's probability of decisiveness and thereby discouraged mathematicians' turnout? How about tweets pointing to George Smith's tracts against voting coupled with text saying "Don't read this, he's wrong"?

Would a blog post very neutrally specifying the mathematics of decisiveness under MMP implicitly be encouraging abstention and consequently be banned?

Is it possible that it's legal to phone your friends and offer a ride to the polling place while noting the merits of your preferred candidate, but illegal to post the same offer to a Facebook group of the same friends?

So many questions. But I'm far too cowardly to test things on Saturday. Pretty much anything I say on Saturday could be interpreted as being intended to encourage abstention, because I've a long track record of encouraging abstention.
And I remember when iPredict started worrying that allowing trading and consequent public prices on election day would breach the rules, and so froze trading on election day. If early on the morning of election day, one of the candidates were caught in an embarrassing situation with a goat that would likely affect the election results, you couldn't trade on it. If I remember right, they opened things up again when the polls closed.

Duncan over at The Spinoff has a great piece highlighting the absurdities.
The classic I-just-voted-here’s-me-looking-good-with-a-sticker selfie is allowed and encouraged. But don’t you dare say who you voted for. Voting is a private and shameful thing that legally we should all be ashamed of. So keep it to yourself or you’ll be getting a visit from your local social media police who are in fact the real police.

To summarise, don’t wear a mask of a politician’s face; don’t wear that Labour x Supreme collab tee that you kind of regret paying money for; and don’t write a status about why everyone should vote for Greens/TOP/National because this far into the election campaign, no one cares. Also all those things are illegal.

But you know what’s great? You can vote today if you want. And if you want, you can do any and all of the things listed above. In fact, you can do anything you want right up until 11:59pm on Friday 22nd September. What’s the difference between posting a political status at 11:59pm and posting one at midnight, you ask?

Like I said, it’s dumb.
Not part of the Outside of the Asylum.

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