Voter Registration Act and Amendments

Greetings to the Great Council.

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to introduce what I hope to be my final major contribution, and the capstone on this Great Council. This legislation is perhaps the most ambitious change from our current government system, and I hope we are able to work out the vast majority of kinks.

I’m not particularly happy with the organization of this act, but it hits all of my important wickets, so here it is.

Amendments to previously passed legislation to support the above:

A few things:

  • I think for Article IV of the Charter, you need to define at some point in a law what the process is for the Chair to incorporate a new Legislator. Based on what you’ve written, it’s not clear what that process is or what the distinction is between being a Legislator and a Citizen.
  • How will private votes work in the context of the “you must vote in elections” requirement for citizenship?
  • I think the language on 2(1) is sloppy. (The ‘no multiple accounts’ rule is muted by the WA status requirement.) Try this instead:
    a. They have a World Assembly nation in the South Pacific or have a World Assembly nation in the service of the Security Council or South Pacific Special Forces,
    b. The Citizenship Commission does not believe they are applying in bad faith,
    c. The Security Council does not consider them to be a threat to regional security.
  • What are the consequences of failing to comply with 4(2)? Right now, there are none. I honestly think it should stay that way, but I’d be open to changing the law to make this more of a guideline in light of that.
  • 3(1): Why the change from “3-5” to “up to 4”?
  • 3(1): Do members of the Citizenship Commission hold their tenure for life? Or are they reappointed by each Prime Minister? Can they be recalled by the Assembly?
  • 3(1): Just a thought, what if the Security Council appointed the Citizenship Commission?

Very true, and I have begun writing another amendment to the Legislative Procedure Act under the section concerning the Chair’s Powers. With regards to the distinction between Legislators and Citizens, the role of the former is defined in the Charter, and the latter’s primary purpose would be defined in the Elections Act, but I do agree the distinction is unclear and I will adjust the act.

Agreed. Will update accordingly.

Also agreed.

To my knowledge, more members on the Legislator Committee did not make things run smoother, and if anything detracted from that, and so the shrinkage in possible members. The lack of a minimum is due to allowing the Assembly the ability to reject potential commissioners just to meet the minimum, in the event of a lack of qualified persons.

Yes they can, they are officials that can be recalled per Section IX of the new Charter. I will add language to support.

I dislike the idea of having such an important role be held by a person indefinitely, and can support having an approval vote on them with regular frequency. Maybe every 6 months?

I dislike the idea, I think the Prime Minister is fine for these appointments.

If this reforming the legislatorship, creating something new or what?

The general gist of this is to separate voter eligibility from legislatorship so that people who want to vote in our elections but aren’t interested in legislating don’t feel a need to join the Assembly just to vote.

Some brief comments, from an initial reading:

  • Minor stylistic note, but I feel like 2(1) would read more cleanly if its provisions were worded in the affirmative rather than the negative. For instance, perhaps it could require applicants to apply ‘in good faith’ rather than ‘not in bad faith.’
  • ‘Return’ 3(3) could be a little less ambiguous. What happens if the regular member on leave never returns, but a new member is appointed in their place? I assume you intended for the temporary appointment to expire, but it technically wouldn’t be a ‘return’ if the newly appointed regular member wasn’t on the Commission before.
  • I think it would make sense for the Security Council to appoint members of the Citizenship Commission if you’re linking continued citizenship to electoral participation, since the Election Commissioner is appointed by the Security Council anyway.

With respect to activity requirements, I don’t think they need to be attached specifically to voting. I’m thinking something like this:

  • When someone applies for citizenship, the Citizenship Commission runs its full suite of security checks.
  • Every X months, the Citizenship Commission re-verifies the citizenship of all citizens except those who became a citizen in the time since the last periodic check.
    • The Citizenship Commission can exercise discretion as to which checks it conducts on each citizen. This can range from simply verifying WA status for citizens considered lower-risk to running the full suite of security checks again for citizens considered higher-risk.
    • Citizens with some level of inactivity (didn’t vote in the last election, haven’t posted in the Assembly, etc.) are required to go through the full checks again, similar to our current activity requirements regardless of the Citizenship Commission’s risk assessment.

‘Citizenship’ is perhaps better described by ‘security clearance’ in this system (though I’m definitely open to name suggestions) since it would be detached from voting specifically and simply reflect whether someone is up-to-date on passing security checks. To a large extent, it’s just an extension of our current system. We currently run security checks whenever someone applies or re-applies, but we never really follow up (aside from the Chair checking the bare minimum of having a nation in the region, or unless we learn of something serious enough to warrant a proscription).

Ah, Thank you.

This has been defined.

I’m not particularly tied to “not in bad faith” over “in good faith”, but what other edits would you propose?

Added language to clarify.

I disagree. The purpose of becoming a citizen, as well as any follow on positions, is to participate in our government. Voting is the most important part of that, and if you’re not interested in voting, then why become a citizen in the first place? Participation in our institutions is not contingent upon being a citizen, except where specified, and so the system as I’ve laid out here.

With regards to running additional checks, there’s nothing prohibiting the Citizenship Commission, or the Security Council, from running those checks if they have reason to believe it’s necessary. Unless a member of the Legislator Committee or the Council for Regional Security is willing to divulge that process or methodology in a manner that doesn’t violate OPSEC, I don’t really want to legislate more on requiring more security checks unless absolutely necessary.

I’ve been going back and forth on this, and I worry that the Security Council appointing these commissioners to be a reflection of the appointing body, but I can support it if we have regular approval votes for commissioners. I will add language to reflect this.

Is it your intention to not require security checks to become a legislator and just leave it up to the Chair? I’m not seeing any provisions stating otherwise, but maybe I’m missing something. (I really feel like I’m missing something, lol.)

Upon further reflection, it’s probably not worth it for me to keep arguing this point because the systems we have in mind are functionally pretty similar :stuck_out_tongue:

Also a fair point, which leads me to another pedantic note: 2(1) should perhaps be worded as just criteria for citizenship in general to avoid any loopholes. (For instance, I’d want to avoid someone arguing that they are in the clear under 2(1)(b) because they applied in good faith, even if the Citizenship Commission now believes they are participating in bad faith.)

I do wonder if we can (or should) specify ‘security checks’ in more detail. I mean, the purpose of the checks in our current system is to verify eligibility under 2(1), right?

Yes. The check is already performed when a resident applies for citizenship, and applying to become a Legislator is contingent on being a citizen already. The Chair can also request another check be performed, if they feel a need.

What specific language did you have in mind?

This is a question I’m unwilling to answer. Maybe @HumanSanity or @anjo would be willing to provide additional information.

I may have comments in mind for when I’m back from holiday next week. This also applies to the Regional Security Act and the Defence Act.

Is there a particular reason why we switched from Voter to Citizen?

Simply put, I liked the phrasing of Citizen better than Voter.

I’m concerned about the engagement-related implications of telling people that they are not citizens.

We’re giving residents the option of easily applying for citizenship, as citizenship gives you the right to vote. I think that’s a lot clearer than telling them they’re already citizens just by having a nation in the region, and that you can apply to be a Legislator, which infers writing laws and that’s not in everyone’s interest. Hell, I’m willing to wager almost all of our new NSers don’t come here to participate in the Assembly, it just so happens to exist after they get here.

If you want it renamed to Citizens and Voters, vice Residents and Citizens, I’ll make the change, but I personally don’t like the names.

We’re telling people you can become a citizen easily. You’re a member of the Coalition already, if you want to become a Citizen of the Coalition and have a real stake in our activities, simply apply.

I do find it a bit weird, semantically, that we could have members actively contributing to, say, ministries or the military, but still not hold citizenship.

That may be a little problematic for us to explain.

They would be residents, and be afforded the rights as defined in the Charter, but not gaining citizenship would be their choice at that point. The other option is to require citizenship before participating in a Ministry and that’s not something I’m particularly fond of.

You are getting hung up on the process when the concern being expressed is on the form. It’s abundantly that it is each person’s choice whether to register, that is the whole point of the system. The concern being expressed is about using the term “citizen”, a term with clear connotations, to refer to people who sign up, to the exclusion of everyone else.

What exactly are these connotations that we do not want to imply?