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September 13, 2013 | by  | in Homepage News |
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Morrison Caught Out At Silly Point

Voting on campus is up in the air, following an attempt by a mayoral candidate to further disenfranchise the already overwhelmingly apathetic youth vote.

Yesterday the Wellington City Council Electoral Office confirmed that there would be no voting drop-off boxes provided at the University. However, a special voting facility will be available on Wednesday 25 September from 9.30 am to 3 pm. The initiative to have voting on campus, a first for Victoria, came about through efforts by VUWSA to try to get students engaged in September’s upcoming local-body election.

Though the Electoral Office refused to release details of the complaints, Salient understands that mayoral candidate John Morrison was one of the complainants.

In a statement released to Salient, Morrison said that his “issue is about providing the same opportunities equally to all sectors of our community,” but that he “[doesn’t] have a problem with this process”.

However, following a public backlash on social media from students who suddenly discovered an interest in local-body politics, and an outrage over a right most don’t choose to exercise, Morrison backed down from his complaint.

“I’m very unhappy about the way the matter has been handled by all concerned,” Morrison said in a statement.

“I am disappointed at the outcome of the question I raised, which was not about removing ballot boxes, but the question of ballot boxes throughout the city at appropriate venues.”

The Electoral Officer Charlie Inggs said that after taking into account legal advice he had received, he “determined that although providing voting drop-off boxes at the University would encourage voter participation, this initiative was not communicated to all the candidates and the public at the outset, and the University library and students’ administration are not public places.”

VUWSA President Rory McCourt said he was “pretty gutted to hear anyone would complain about having postal ballot boxes on campus. It was something to get students engaged in the local elections, to do something about the notoriously low youth-voter turnout.”

“I’m not convinced that this is just one big misunderstanding. I think John needs to release the correspondence he’s had with the Elections Office to show exactly what he advocated for and against,” McCourt said.

“We hope with John backing down, the Elections Office will see sense and return our ballot boxes.”

The Electoral Office had not released any further statements on the campus drop-off boxes when Salient went to print.

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About the Author ()

Molly McCarthy and Stella Blake-Kelly are Salient Co-Editors for 2013, AKA Salient Babes.

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