A fair voting system

Preferential voting

If a candidate in an election does not achieve a majority of first preference votes, the winner is determined by the allocation of subsequent second, third and so on preferences.

How Preferential voting works: 

There are two systems of preferential voting: Full preferential and optional preferential voting.  With full preferential voting, voters are required to indicate their first preference by placing a “1” against a candidate’s name, then make a second preference and so on for the number of candidates on the ballot paper.  Optional preferential voting only requires the voter to make a first preference.

If a candidate does not get an absolute majority of first preference votes, then the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and those votes are allocated to the other candidates according to the number of second preference votes.  If no majority has been achieved, the next candidate with the least number of primary votes is eliminated and those votes are allocated to other candidates according to the second preference or third preference and so on if the second preferences have been exhausted.

Supporters of preferential voting say:

  1. The winning candidate is the most preferred or least disliked candidate by the entire electorate.
  2. Voters who support minor parties know that their votes will count towards deciding the winner.
  3. Parties sharing overlapping philosophies and policies can assist each other to win.

 Opponents of preferential voting say:

  1. Vote counting is complex under current manual procedures.
  2. The process is costly and time consuming, potentially delaying a result.
  3. Some people don’t like having to choose more than one candidate.
  4. Preferential voting makes voting more difficult.  Some people do not like having to rank their preference of candidates.  They either neglect to do so or make mistakes, leading to higher levels of informal voting.
  5. Some people do not like being forced to make a preference for candidates they do not support.
  6. A candidate not supported by most of the electorate could still win.

What do you think?  Have your say.  Join the conversation below.

 

Drawing of Electoral Boundaries

Sometimes people find themselves in a new electorate when voting comes around.  That’s because electoral boundaries - approximately 100,000 people within an area - are sometimes changed to reflect changes in the movement of people and the demographic makeup of the area.  Electoral authorities regularly hold hearings to review boundaries. Political parties are not allowed to participate in the hearings so as to avoid the perception of manipulation of the system in their favour.  Some people do not think electoral boundaries are being decided fairly.

What do you think?  Have your say.  Join the conversation below.

 

How we vote 

Postal voting

Postal voting is designed for people who cannot attend a polling place in their electorate.  

How voting works:

Once a person has voted, the ballot paper is placed in a sealed envelope which does not contain any voter identification, and then is placed in another sealed envelope that contains the name and address of the voter.  When it is received by the electoral authority the outside envelope is used to confirm the person has voted. The ballot paper is removed from the inside envelope and place in a pile for counting. The system is designed so the identity of the voter cannot be linked to the ballot paper, thus ensuring tick the person’s vote is anonymous.

Opponents of postal voting claim that the system is open to abuse because votes can be tampered with and there is nothing stopping the voter’s personal details being copied. 

What do you think?  Have your say.  Join the conversation below.

Early voting

Early voting is officially known as 'Pre-Poll' voting -- voting before the actual day of the election or poll.  When voting early, voters are required by law to give a valid reason for their request to vote before election day.

How early voting works:

For the 2019 federal election, early-voting or pre-poll voting centres opened in each electorate three weeks before election day in metropolitan areas and two weeks before election day in rural areas. 

According to AEC figures, 2980498 people voted early for the 2016 federal election.  In 2019, 4766853 people voted early -- a 60% increase in early voting compared with the 2016 election. 

Vote Australia recognises that early voting is convenient for those who need it.  Should all voters be allowed to vote before all issues have been fully debated?

What do you think?  Have your say.  Join the conversation below.

COMMENTS

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  • Cayden
    followed this page 2021-06-15 10:17:44 +1000
  • Peter Newland
    commented 2021-06-04 08:44:15 +1000
    The statement: “The winning candidate is the most preferred or least disliked candidate by the entire electorate” is simply incorrect as can be easily proved. The fact is that the preferential voting system is seriously flawed because it effectively ignores last and near-last preferences.

    Now preferential VOTING is the best system available. Period. However: the so-called ‘counting’ method is seriously biased towards 1st preferences while totally ignoring last preferences. The result is that a candidate can “win the wooden spoon” as being the MOST DISLIKED candidate by a healthy margin and YET be declared the ‘winner after preferences’ by a narrow margin.

    This is proved in simple numerical examples at https colon slash slash tinyurl dot com slash ElectoralReformOz all one word. This is not just an obscure theoretical problem: it is a real issue that can and does gets candidates elected AGAINST the voters preferences. The above link shows that 3 of the 25 MLAs elected in the 2020 ACT election were elected against voters preferences – and the link names those wrongly elected and those wrongly eliminated including giving the exact counts showing how the eliminated candidate won against the ‘elected’ candidate in a virtual one-on-one run-off election as determined by the actual preference votes at the ElectionsACT website.

    The link also introduces the authors Average Preference Rating (APR) system of fairly counting preferential votes to guarantees to always exactly follow whatever preferences voters have marked. APR allows SPLIT Partial Preferential voting which allows voters to mark their first few, and their last few, preferences: the SPLIT option makes it easier for voters faced with ballot papers such as vote 1-32 Above the Line, Or 1-140 below the line.

    APR is very VERY fast to count provided that all votes are SCANNED &/OR DIGITISED. Votes could be scanned on site and a VERY small file uploaded from each polling place and amalgamated very quickly at the main electoral office. The reason for the small file size and speed of counting is that no votes are ever distributed, every preference mark is taken into account and the system is totally fair. The system easily allows multiple parallel audit trails that make election fraud extremely difficult – it ist even possible to allow a voter to check that their particular vote was actually counted and recorded correctly in the count by using unique random vote IDs generated when the voter votes – plus candidates, parties and media could get near real-time info re individual polling booths or electorate tallies as votes are counted. The system allows even a close Australian Federal Senate Election results to be available within hours of polls closing.
  • Peter Newland
    followed this page 2021-06-04 08:44:11 +1000

JOIN THE FIGHT

Add your name and let’s keep Australian elections free and fair.

  • followed A fair voting system 2021-06-15 10:17:44 +1000

  • commented on A fair voting system 2021-06-04 08:44:15 +1000
    The statement: “The winning candidate is the most preferred or least disliked candidate by the entire electorate” is simply incorrect as can be easily proved. The fact is that the preferential voting system is seriously flawed because it effectively ignores last and near-last preferences.

    Now preferential VOTING is the best system available. Period. However: the so-called ‘counting’ method is seriously biased towards 1st preferences while totally ignoring last preferences. The result is that a candidate can “win the wooden spoon” as being the MOST DISLIKED candidate by a healthy margin and YET be declared the ‘winner after preferences’ by a narrow margin.

    This is proved in simple numerical examples at https colon slash slash tinyurl dot com slash ElectoralReformOz all one word. This is not just an obscure theoretical problem: it is a real issue that can and does gets candidates elected AGAINST the voters preferences. The above link shows that 3 of the 25 MLAs elected in the 2020 ACT election were elected against voters preferences – and the link names those wrongly elected and those wrongly eliminated including giving the exact counts showing how the eliminated candidate won against the ‘elected’ candidate in a virtual one-on-one run-off election as determined by the actual preference votes at the ElectionsACT website.

    The link also introduces the authors Average Preference Rating (APR) system of fairly counting preferential votes to guarantees to always exactly follow whatever preferences voters have marked. APR allows SPLIT Partial Preferential voting which allows voters to mark their first few, and their last few, preferences: the SPLIT option makes it easier for voters faced with ballot papers such as vote 1-32 Above the Line, Or 1-140 below the line.

    APR is very VERY fast to count provided that all votes are SCANNED &/OR DIGITISED. Votes could be scanned on site and a VERY small file uploaded from each polling place and amalgamated very quickly at the main electoral office. The reason for the small file size and speed of counting is that no votes are ever distributed, every preference mark is taken into account and the system is totally fair. The system easily allows multiple parallel audit trails that make election fraud extremely difficult – it ist even possible to allow a voter to check that their particular vote was actually counted and recorded correctly in the count by using unique random vote IDs generated when the voter votes – plus candidates, parties and media could get near real-time info re individual polling booths or electorate tallies as votes are counted. The system allows even a close Australian Federal Senate Election results to be available within hours of polls closing.

  • followed A fair voting system 2021-06-04 08:44:11 +1000

  • (@Lizzz777) is following @voteaustralia1 on Twitter 2021-06-03 18:00:47 +1000
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