Push to boost election engagement after years of low member turn-out

August 1, 2021

Changes to help members learn more about candidates.

It is hoped changes to the NZNO election process will encourage more members to participate in the upcoming vote for president and vice-president, NZNO communications manager Rob Zorn says.

NZNO president and vice-president elections are underway now, with voting closing on September 10.

Last September’s by-elections for president, vice president and three board members had one of the lowest voting turnouts for NZNO, with just six per cent of members voting.

Voter turnout has generally been low in recent years, hovering around the eight per cent mark. Such low turnout did not suggest a healthy engagement with NZNO by members and NZNO was keen to look at why, Zorn said.

While there were likely to be many reasons, Zorn said two main ones emerged in social media conversations: That it was difficult to find anything out about candidates because of brief profiles; and unclear information scattered across locations, requiring logging in.

Candidate profiles can now be slightly longer, up from 150 to 170 words, and include contact details. Members no longer need to log into the NZNO website to view candidate and voting information, which is all accessible in one dedicated election page on the NZNO website.

Zorn said early voting patterns had been encouraging, and significantly higher than in 2020’s by-elections.

Post-election, NZNO also hoped to survey members who didn’t vote in the hope to find out why, Zorn said.

There were also plans to make complex remits easier to understand and vote on – however there were no remits this year, Zorn said.

See candidate profiles.