Senate Voting

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Captain Cupcake
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Joined: November 4th, 2007, 12:05 pm
Location: Narangba, QLD

Senate Voting

Unread post by Captain Cupcake » June 30th, 2016, 9:33 pm

Everybody by now has heard of the changes they made to how you vote for the Senate.

But did you know that if you wish, you can vote either 1 above the line or 1 below the line (with no other numbers) and it is still a Formal Vote?

I heard rumors about it so I sent an email off to the Australian Electoral Commission.

Here is the reply I received back (highlighted in the appropriate areas).

Thank you for your email.
For the Senate, the legislation requires voters to either number:
• at least 6 boxes above the line for the parties or groups of their choice, or
• at least 12 boxes below the line for individual candidates of their choice.
The AEC's role is to instruct people to vote according to the legislation.
Voters are encouraged to follow the instructions on the ballot paper, or there is a risk their vote may be informal and won’t be included in the count.
How voters mark their Senate ballot paper determines whether their vote can be counted, how their preferences will flow to the candidates they have chosen and when their vote exhausts.
The legislation also includes ‘vote savings’ provisions, which have been in existence for many years. These are instructions to help staff counting the votes to understand how to deal with the many ways that a ballot paper is filled out by the voter.
‘Vote savings’ provisions make sure a vote can still be counted where the voter has made their intention clear, despite not precisely following the instructions on the ballot paper.
The provisions provide that those ballot papers marked above the line with a 1 only (or a sequence of numbers less than six) and having no other mistakes or issues will be included in the count.
(This also includes below the line as well, Tony Hodges from the AEC confirmed this on 4BC)
There is a practise voting tool available on the AEC website ( to help people avoid inadvertently casting an informal vote.

Thank you for your email.

If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us on 13 23 26 or via reply email.

Yours sincerely

Public Enquiries Team
2016 Federal Election Contact Centre
Australian Electoral Commission

T: 13 23 26 in Australia
T: +612 6160 2600 from overseas

V Williamson
Part of the furniture
Posts: 1399
Joined: February 6th, 2008, 9:16 am

Re: Senate Voting

Unread post by V Williamson » July 1st, 2016, 8:57 am

You would hope that there is some definite position with the Senate voting. Otherwise look forward to a pile of High Court challenges from prospective Senators because the "votes were not properly counted". One would not be surprised to see the matter descend to a new Senate election given this 1 or 6 above the line problem.

Need to get out more
Posts: 2347
Joined: August 22nd, 2008, 12:03 am

Re: Senate Voting

Unread post by stockhorse » July 1st, 2016, 10:47 am

It would be safely assumed that your vote would then not have any preferences. This comes back to the one person one vote idea. I bet that parties of any political persuasion would not like that in some marginal seats and would be extatic about it in others.
I definately like the idea of one person one vote without preferences as then you get true majority rule.

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