Disability Voter and Non-Voter Satisfaction Survey 2005

The full report of the Disability Voter and Non-Voter Satisfaction Survey 2005 is available for download below.

Executive summary

TNS was commissioned by the Chief Electoral Office, Ministry of Justice to undertake research on the voting experience of voters with a disability at the 2005 general election.

This research was commissioned in order to evaluate the current performance of the Chief Electoral Office in relation to its service to voters with disabilities, and identify areas in which methods, processes and systems might be made more effective and efficient for the future.

TNS was also commissioned by the Chief Electoral Office to conduct a general survey of voters and non-voters for the general election.

Summary of findings

Voting behaviour

  • Most voters with disabilities spent less than ten minutes at the polling place.  Seventy percent cast their vote at a polling place on election day and 81 percent spent less than ten minutes in the polling place.  The majority of voters sampled for the general survey (93%) also spent less than ten minutes in the polling place. 
  • Many voters with a disability voted with either family or friends. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of voters went to the polling place with either family members (43%) or ‘other people’ (23%).  Over half of those sampled (55%) had help casting their vote from people including polling place staff (29%) and family members (17%).
  • Voters with disabilities are comparatively high users of the advance voting option.  Just over one quarter (28%) of voters with a disability voted in advance in 2005 compared to seven percent of voters sampled for the general survey.

Voting method awareness

  • Knowledge of the advance voting option was high among voters with a disability.  Eighty-five percent were aware of advance voting compared to 70 percent of voters sampled for the general survey. Of those that were unaware, nearly one third (31%) said they would have voted in advance had they been aware of the option.  The main sources of information about advance voting were disability organisations (33%) and the EasyVote pack (23%).
  • Knowledge of postal voting was lower.  Under half of the respondents (42%) were aware of postal voting, with over a third (35%) saying they would have voted by post had they been aware.

Polling place staff

  • The majority of voters with disabilities were satisfied with the service provided by the polling place staff.  This is consistent with those sampled for the general survey. Staff were considered:
    • Pleasant and polite by nearly all voters, with 95 percent rating the staff manner as either excellent (61%) or very good (35%).
    • To have the ability to answer questions by most voters, with 89 percent rating this factor as either excellent (50%) or very good (39%). 

Information from the Chief Electoral Office

  • In general, information provided to voters with a disability by the Chief Electoral Office was seen as useful.  The most common type of information recalled was supplied by the Chief Electoral Office (34%), followed by articles/information in disability newsletters and magazines (19%), and the Sign Language DVD (16%).  The survey suggests that the information provided met most voters’ needs, with nearly two-thirds (64%) saying they did not require any further information.

Method

Four-hundred self-completion questionnaires were sent out to a selection of disability organisations prior to the election.  The organisations were asked to give the questionnaires to their members after the election.  The same survey was also undertaken using computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) with members of the Association of Blind Citizens.  The sample that was obtained is shown below:

 

N=

Voters

115

Non-voters

5

Total

120

Due to the small sample size, non-voters are not included in this report.

Conclusions

The survey suggests that overall the service provided to voters with disabilities by the Chief Electoral Office was effective and efficient.  Voters were satisfied with the information received and their experiences in the polling place compare well with the favourable responses of those sampled for the general survey.

Background

New Zealand has three electoral agencies with different responsibilities. 

The Chief Electoral Office (CEO) is responsible for the preparation and conduct of New Zealand’s general elections, by-elections and referenda.  This includes responsibility for providing information and services to candidates, political parties, voters and providing advice to Ministers on electoral issues.  The CEO is a division of the Ministry of Justice based in Wellington and has 15 permanent staff. 

The Electoral Enrolment Centre (a self-contained business unit of New Zealand Post) compiles and maintains the electoral rolls.  The Electoral Enrolment Centre also conducts the Māori Electoral Option.   

The Electoral Commission registers political parties and party logos and receives registered parties' annual returns of donations and returns of election expenses, allocates election-broadcasting time and funds to eligible political parties.  The Commission also produces public information about electoral matters.

Each parliamentary term, the CEO seeks to improve its service to the voting public and to the political parties and the candidates who contest elections.  The vision of the CEO is to ensure ‘widespread public and political confidence in the administration of the parliamentary electoral process’.

Objectives of the CEO with regard to voters and non-voters with disabilities are:

  • Provide a better service for voters with disabilities
  • Improve communication, especially with regard to advance voting
  • Make voting more accessible, e.g. car parking and desktop voting (with and without assistance)
  • Improve disability awareness through staff training.

The objective is to improve access to voting at the next general election for people with disabilities, so that wherever possible they can vote independently and in secret.

TNS were commissioned to undertake the 2005 voter and non-voter survey with a booster survey of those with a disability to review the electoral experience of the eligible voting population and to ascertain why non-voters did not vote.  

Research objectives

The CEO seeks to provide better access to voting for voters with disabilities. This is in line with the objectives of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, and recognises the difficulties faced by many voters with disabilities in accessing polling places and casting their vote independently and in secret. 

The objective of this research is to measure the experience of voters and non-voters with a disability.  A comparison was made of voters and non-voters without a disability.

Research methodology

A survey of voters and non-voters with a disability was conducted using a mixed method of both Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI), and self-completion questionnaires.  CATI was used to conduct interviews with members of the Association of Blind Citizens (ABC), while self-completion surveys were sent out to respondents through other disability organisations. 

The surveys were sent out just before the general election, with instructions to the organisations to pass onto members following the election.  The self-completion surveys were accepted up until 13/10/2005 and the CATI survey was run from 30/09/05 to 02/10/05. 

Research population

The population of interest for the research was enrolled voters and non-voters belonging to a disability organisation.  A voter is an eligible enrolled elector who cast a vote at the 2005 general election and a non-voter is an eligible enrolled elector who did not cast a vote at the 2005 general election.

Elections New Zealand defines the eligible voting population of New Zealand as:

  • Eighteen years or older, and
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and
  • having lived in New Zealand for a year or more without leaving the country.

Those ineligible to enrol are:

  • New Zealand citizens who have not been in New Zealand at all during the last three years, or
  • New Zealand permanent residents who have not been in New Zealand in the last 12 months.

Sample selection

Four-hundred self-completion questionnaires were sent out to five disability organisations: the Deaf Association (n=100), CCS (n=100), Disabled Persons Association (n=100), IHC (n=50), and People First New Zealand Inc (n=50).  ABC provided a database of 53 members who agreed to be telephoned for the CATI survey.

Sample size

The sample size for the voter survey was 115.  The sample for the non-voter survey was 5.

Throughout the report the base sizes are shown for all questions.  Caution is needed when interpreting the data for some questions because of small bases sizes. 

Research instrument – questionnaire

The questionnaires used for the 2005 disability voter and non-voter surveys are appended.  For both surveys, a screener question was used to confirm eligibility and to ensure the respondent answered the correct survey.

CATI interviews

TNS contacted respondents between the hours of 9am to 9pm, seven days a week.  The average interview duration for the voter survey was 8.3 minutes and 9.9 minutes for the non-voter survey.  Forty-five questionnaires were conducted using CATI.

 

Last updated: 07 February 2013