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Dr Reginald Osiris
27 September 2037 @ 12:35 pm
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Current Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Dr Reginald Osiris
A question I keep seeing on social media is this: "Why don't we have stronger voter ID laws in force in New Zealand?" Well, here's my opinion on why we don't, and why that's actually a good thing.

Two points:

1.) Strong voter ID laws have a history of disenfranchising vulnerable members of the population. These same vulnerable people also historically tend to vote for left-wing parties and candidates, because parties on the left wing are more likely to care about their issues.

2.) The incidence of voter fraud in New Zealand is tiny. There is no justification for bringing in stronger laws, when there is no need for them.

Here's a little more depth:

I worked as an issuing officer on election day. We didn't ask voters for ID, because we wanted as many people to be able to vote as possible. Voting is a civil right. Issuing officers are not gatekeepers for that reason.

The way it works is like this: if your name is in the printed electoral rolls held at the voting place, you can cast an ordinary vote. If your name is not in the roll, then you cast a special vote. This includes people who are not sure whether they are enrolled or not. If you know you're not enrolled, and it is election day, you cannot vote. You can enrol to vote at any point until the advance voting places close on the day before election day.

One of the things that issuing officers were taught to do at this election was to ask each voter "Can you confirm that you are [voter's full name]?" as part of the issuing process. (The confirmation just had to be given verbally, but I saw an AWFUL lot of driver's licenses.) That question is the only form of ID that NZ voters were expected to provide.

The ordinary votes are counted at the end of the day, while the special votes go off to be counted at electoral HQ. Part of the reason why special votes take two weeks to count is that they are vetted at HQ, to make absolutely sure that the people who voted are enrolled. If your vote is deemed invalid at that point, that is why. The ordinary votes get recounted at HQ as well, to weed out duplicate votes. Any duplicate votes are deemed ineligible.

The votes that are deemed "informal" on the night -- both candidate informals and party informals -- are those voting papers where the voter's intention is not clear. For example, they may have ticked all the candidates or parties, or not ticked any. A voting paper can be deemed "informal" for a candidate, yet still be deemed a valid party vote if only one part of the ballot paper is unclear, and vice versa. It doesn't matter whether you tick, cross, circle, fill in the tickybox, or cross out every other party or candidate in order to show your intention. You don't even need to mark the tickybox -- you can mark whereever on the page that you want, as long as the counters can figure out who it was you voted for. All votes are vetted thoroughly with strict procedures.

As I said above, voter ID laws historically disenfranchise vulnerable members of the population, who (also historically) tend to vote for left-wing parties. Laws like this have long been used as a tool by right-wing politicians and parties for that reason. If you don't have any ID, you're not going to bother voting even if you're enrolled. And as we all know, low voter turnouts tend to favour the right.

Wanting stronger ID laws means that you're falling for their bullshit. Don't be that person.

Also, what would constitute valid ID? A driver's license? I don't have one. A passport? Can't afford it. Government-issued photo ID costs money. I am a complete election geek, and if stronger voter ID laws were in place, I wouldn't be able to vote. And that scares the HELL out of me. You can bet that if the current government brought in stronger voter ID laws, they'd make the acceptable forms of ID in question to be as limited and as hard to get as possible.

And the incidence of voter fraud in New Zealand, like the incidence of benefit fraud, is tiny. Nobody would do it themselves, but everyone can point to a friend of a friend who "voted heaps of times! I saw it on Facebook!" Like the image of the woman who keeps getting pregnant while she's on a benefit, the stereotype of the evil vote fraudster refuses to die. It's a harmful stereotype, and we need to stop it in its tracks. If you're looking for a reason why National won the most recent election, you should take a good look at their lavish marketing campaign. Not at some made-up bogeyman who is just out to steal your vote.

And if you're angry at the people who didn't vote in this most recent election, and you're STILL worried about voter ID laws not being strict enough? Think again. High voter turnout and strong voter ID laws do not go hand in hand.

It's our right to vote. It's wrong to restrict that right.
Current Location: at home
Current Mood: electoral
Current Music: "Team" -- Lorde
Dr Reginald Osiris
18 November 2010 @ 11:15 am
So since my last update, Stuff has Happened.

neoterik and I have gone from being friends, to being prospective flatmates, to being flatmates with benefits, to being in an open relationship, and now we've decided (after a brief discussion late one night) to be monogamous. All in the space of about two weeks, give or take. Woot!

It feels a bit weird being in a relationship with someone with the same last name as me, but most of the time I'm not bothered. It just feels very, very right. :)

I hate to use the term "whirlwind romance", because it's so cliched, but I suppose that's really what it is. Although technically we've known each other for twelve years or so, we hadn't really seen much of each other over the last decade. So it was really a case of catching up with an old friend.

And right now, inside my head I'm going "HOLY CRAP HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? HOLY CRAP!" and jumping around like... a happy bouncy thing on WAAAYY too much chocolate. :D

I'm a lucky, lucky girl.
Current Location: Pleasantville, Wellington
Current Music: kaka playing space invaders
Dr Reginald Osiris
22 October 2010 @ 03:30 pm
I'm currently living in Koromiko Rd in the area above the Aro Valley that is known (at least as far as I'm concerned) as Pleasantville. Right now, I'm crashing on neoterik's lounge floor. However, since there's a REALLY REALLY NICE 2-bedroom flat being built above us, he's indicated that he wouldn't mind moving in there and getting me to stay on as a flatmate.

This is pretty awesome. Seriously. Money might be an issue, but as long as Work & Income get their crap sorted out and pay me my proper benefit with ALL the back pay they owe me (long story) I'll be able to manage it.

And I don't think I could ask for a better flatmate. :) neoterik is an awesome dude, and he's fun to hang out with. We've flatted together in the past and didn't really have a problem, so it's all good.

Yeah. Anyway.

I have a new cellphone. My number hasn't changed -- I've still got the same one I've had all along -- and I think I have most of your numbers.

Right, I'm off to Fidel's. Which is now walking distance! Hooray! No more long bus rides! You can't see me right now, but I'm doing the victory dance.

Oh, and I just heard a kea in the garden.
Current Location: Pleasantville, Wellington
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: kea making a racket
Dr Reginald Osiris
09 October 2010 @ 01:03 pm
I have been told in no uncertain terms that I need to leave the place I'm staying at THIS WEEK. So I need a place to stay, preferably in or near Wellington city, while I wait for Work & Income to stop dragging their collective heels and pay my benefit finally. It's probably only going to take a week longer, then I'll have an income and finally be able to find a flat.

Can somebody help me out? Leave me a message here if you can.

PS: This is NOT a request for money, it's a request for accommodation. Cheers!

ETA: Crisis averted; potential crashspace found. Thank you, Brendan!
Current Location: Kelson
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: fretting
Dr Reginald Osiris
30 August 2010 @ 11:37 am
I've moved!

I'm now living at the top end of Major Drive in Kelson. Yes, I'm still in Lower Hutt. Right now, I'm house-sitting for geeknz and poly_craftual, who are on their honeymoon. They're off to Burning Man. It's Holly's first burn, and Gynn's fifth? sixth? I can't remember.

Anyway, while they're gone I'm cleaning the place and feeding the cat. And I also plan to do the garden at some point when it stops raining. A project, I has one! Whee!

So far, I've cleared out the recycling, mopped the floors (including the laundry, where it seems the cat had brought in some formerly self-propelling toys), vacuumed, and started clearing out the basement.

The house is probably the most rural place Ive ever lived in as an adult. There's a horse who lives in a field at the bottom of the drive; there are a couple of ducks that wander around the neighbourhood occasionally; and at one point I could have sworn I heard a sheep.

When I look out the window in one direction, all I can see is fields. In the other direction, I can see Wellington Harbour... when it isn't raining.

The cat is called Midnight. She's big, black and cuddly, and she's a total lap fungus. I believe she heard the word "cat-sitting" and thought "I can do that!" So she's a cat, sitting.

In other news, I'm going to go back on the invalid's benefit. I figure that it'll give me about twice as much net income per week as I was getting for my job, and will probably lead to less back pain overall. I've lost the job I've had since mid-April, so getting an income is a high priority for me.

Well, I'm off to have lunch now, and then maybe I'll investigate the neighbourhood!
Current Location: Kelson
Dr Reginald Osiris
04 August 2010 @ 05:02 pm
kittyfarmer and I are no longer together, after almost twelve years.

I'm devastated -- we both are -- and we have decided that we want to remain friends. We have far too many friends in common and shared experiences to indulge in pointless petty bum-biting.

He has also decided that he will be extending his contract with his employers in Knoxville, so he'll be staying there instead of coming back here.

It hurts, but I hope the hurt will fade in time and I'll be able to think of the good memories.
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Current Location: Lower Hutt
Current Mood: crushedheartbroken
Dr Reginald Osiris
30 June 2010 @ 08:41 pm
I blame Doctor Who for this. Comments welcome.


silence will fallCollapse )
Current Location: Lower Hutt
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Anthem - Leonard Cohen
Dr Reginald Osiris
25 May 2010 @ 07:06 pm
Thankfully, not my own.

Synopsis: Young couple with two-year-old child go to restaurant. Adults order (alcoholic) drinks - mother gets some kind of fizzy fruit cocktail, father gets a (shock! horror!) white Russian. Waiter brings drinks to table, places them in the centre - this was a Chinese restaurant, so I assume it was one of those "lazy Susan" type tables; you know, the ones with the revolving middle bit that small children get needlessly excited about? I know I was excited about that kind of thing when I was a kid. "Mum! This table's got a merry-go-round!"

So anyway. Kid sees drink in small glass that looks like milk, and grabs it as two-year-olds do. Because when you're two, everything is about you, right? "Hey, that's mine!" Kid takes a sip. "Ack! Ptoooie! WAAAAA!"

Mother goes "Aaaaaa!" and calls the cops. I'm not entirely sure who she wanted to press charges against - maybe it was the restaurant, maybe the waiter, maybe her partner, maybe even her two-year-old. The restaurant staff, not to be outdone, call the paramedics.

Sheesh. Talk about over-reaction.

And a quote from the kid's mother: "Jeez. Try to get dinner and it’s a crime scene."

This is from the woman who called the cops in the first place. What the yellow rubbery fuck? Seriously. If you don't want your dinner to become a "crime scene", don't call the police when your two-year-old does something stupid. Babies learn from experience, and I don't think it's an experience this kid will forget. Even if the only memory will be that he doesn't like milk, or he doesn't like alcoholic drinks.

Here's a memory of mine that springs to mind: I was about four years old, and I went into the kitchen and saw my granddad drinking something fizzy and brown. "What's that?"

(NB: at that age, "fizzy and brown" automatically meant "Coke".)

"It's beer. Do you want some?"

Thinking "Ooo, goody, a new kind of Coke!", I said "Okay!"

Sip. "Ack! Ptooie! Why do you drink that? It's horrible!"

That experience put me off beer for about the next 18 years or so. I knew what beer was; I knew I didn't like it; case closed. See? I learned. Nobody called the police at that time. Nobody felt the need. Mind you, it was NZ in the 1970s, rather than America in 2010. But still. What the fuck?
Current Location: Lower Hutt
Current Mood: curiousbuh?
Dr Reginald Osiris
10 April 2010 @ 11:47 pm
I, like Catiecat, have recently had a brush with the US Customs and Border Patrol, and been shown the benefits of privilege. Only my experience was a bit more, well, intense.

A bit of background: In August of 2007, I moved with my partner David to Knoxville in Tennessee. He'd been headhunted by the folks at Oak Ridge National Laborotory, and he'd refused to go unless I went with him. We weren't (and still aren't) married - mostly for political reasons; why should we get married when not everyone else could? - but that wouldn't pose a problem, right? Right?


This is what happened.Collapse )
Current Location: Lower Hutt
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Welcome Home - Dave Dobbyn