An Electoral Commission? How about a Voter Protection Agency?

I recently attended a seminar hosted by Dr Teresa Reidy, Jane Suiter, Prof David Farrell and others on the outcome of the Seanad referendum. One point, made by Prof Michael Marsh, which made a lot of sense, was the fact that because we didn’t carry out extensive exit polling after the vote, we have no idea what voters were thinking. It’s a very valid point. We go to all this trouble to have  a referendum, and then have no scientific way of measuring the outcome.

Dr Reidy and Prof Farrell also made very solid points about the need for a proper Electoral Commission to manage elections, registration of voters, etc, and it got me thinking.

If political parties are using business-style marketing methods to influence voters, why can’t we have consumer protection style laws and agencies to ensure that the product we buy, a policy through voting, does what it is supposed to do on the (party) label? Continue reading