Electoral Issues

Every Australian citizen over the age of eighteen is entitled to vote in elections, referendums and plebiscites. Vote Australia believes there are six key issues in our electoral system.

1. How we enrol to vote

The process to confirm the identity of a person who enrols to vote is not robust. This opens up the system to manipulation and if a dishonest person registers to vote in a fake name, the votes of honest voters are devalued.

2. How we vote at the polling booth

Current legislation enables voters to vote at any polling place in their electorate. As identification is not asked for at the polling booth, a dishonest person could vote multiple times at different polling booths because there is no electronic roll that would prevent that. And because no identification is required, fake voters could vote many times.

3. Preferential voting

Voting in a federal election uses the preferential voting system, where a preference in numerical order has to be made for each candidate. So if a candidate fails to receive a majority of the vote, the second, then third and so on preferences determine who wins. It is referred to as the ‘two-party preferred’ vote, as it has to come down to a contest between two candidates. Some state elections require optional preferential voting, where it is optional for a voter to record a second preference vote, and so on.

Unfortunately, many voters do not understand preferential voting. They follow a how-to-vote card but not know what they are really doing. They may indicate a first preference for a candidate only to discover that their second or third preference has elected a candidate they did not prefer. Therefore, it could be argued that sometimes the wrong candidates get elected.

4. Electoral boundary redistributions

The Australian Electoral Commission routinely calls for submissions from political parties, politicians and the public as to how boundaries of electorates should be drawn. If a redistribution favours an opponent there are complaints. The lesson to be learnt is that we all should have an interest in the political process and argue for what we see as in the best interest for us and our community.

5. Eligibility of politicians

An Australian citizen cannot sit in federal parliament while being a citizen of another nation. This became an issue in 2018 with four by-elections being held after the High Court disqualified dual citizen members of federal parliament.

6. Foreign influences

Much has been alleged about Russian interference in the US elections in 2016. There is talk of potential interference in upcoming Australian elections by other nations. Both, if true, would be a serious blow to the impartiality of our democracies.

At Vote Australia, we will monitor these issues, provide solutions for improvement, and educate the public about them.

 


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  • commented on A fair voting system 2021-08-23 20:54:27 +1000
    Troy Arnould: In answer to your question: it is secret voting. However, one of the safeguards against electoral fraud protocols I proposed could allow a person to choose to reveal their vote but only by choosing to have a receipt printed and then admitting that the receipt in their possession was their own vote receipt. But nothing on the receipt identifies the voter: it only identifies the place of voting and a unique random number that does not even identify the time of voting. That’s all now detailed in the url link spelled out in words in my previous comment, but I updated security recommendations some weeks ago.

    Also, since my original comment, I have better understood and explored the theory behind what began as an empirical approach that worked – but I wasn’t sure why. All I knew was that it was wrong to be obsessed with 1st preferences when sometimes last preferences were more important. Now I have changed the name from APR to DCAP. Candidate Acceptance Percentage is, in FACT, the exact Percentage of voters who Accepted the Candidate as being in the top 50% of Acceptable Candidates.

    Further, I was surprised to prove that Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem is wrong, and that my DCAP counting method guarantees to give a fair result in all cases. DCAP gives the same results as the Borda count of a FULL preferential voting election, but DCAP expresses the result in a consistent user-friendly way.

    In addition, DCAP easily and fairly handles PARTIAL Preferential Voting as well as SPLIT-Partial preferential voting. SPLIT Partial preferential voting makes it far easier for voters faced with, e.g., 123 candidates from 31 Parties to choose from to elect 6 Federal Senators for NSW. Currently, voting 1-6 for your top 6 Parties risks having zero say over who wins Senator 5 or 6 and hence who may hold the balance of power. But voting 1 to 31 Parties in order of preference is very difficult, let alone preferencing 123 Candidates. in order of preference. To overcome this, a SPLIT vote allows voters to vote (e.g.) 1-7 for their favourite Parties and 25 to 31 for their least favourite parties without having to preference the many micro parties they know nothing about. DCAP allows split votes to be counted fairly, and even to automatically correct voting errors where a voter’s intention is clear.

    DCAP is totally immune to strategic voting: even if a voter voted 1-7 and 93 to 99 for 31 parties, DCAP algorithms automatically translate 93 to 99, to 25 to 31. So, voters collectively get what they voted for, with no strategies available to distort a vote. However, no vote is ever immune from Party, Media or Government misinformation and propaganda.

    Borda is often criticised (by Arrow theory, and by numerical example) as being capable of ignoring an absolute majority. The same applies to DCAP and to its previous guises as: APR (Average Preference Rating); WPC (Weighted Preference Counting); or, CPV (Consensus Preference Voting). Until recently, I conceded that an absolute majority should override WPC/APR/Etc.
    I was wrong.
    Borda/WPC/APR/DCAP override very narrow absolute majorities ONLY, repeat O N L Y when that is in fact the BEST result. This can only happen when the ‘winner’ has a minuscule absolute majority margin compared while that ‘winner’ more strongly deserving the ‘wooden spoon’ as the MOST DISLIKED candidate on preferences.

    Other ‘counting’ methods suffer from erratic tipping points and that’s why they can and do get it wrong – often when it matters most in determining the last one or two candidates elected in multiple representative electorates where such winners often hold the balance of power. In contrast, Borda and DCAP are totally ‘linear’: i.e., they have no sudden tipping points, where changing one vote can tip preferences towards a totally different candidate. This is because Borda and DCAP never eliminate candidates, never distribute preferences, they fairly take into account all preferences for all candidates, in filling all vacancies and every vote has the same say over every vacancy.

    Current eliminate & distribute ‘counting’ methods are inherently flawed: they can not guarantee fair results; plus they facilitate strategic voting trying to game the system.
    Further, some claim that partial preferential voting (but not SPLIT partial preferential voting) skews the system in favour of larger parties. In contrast, DCAP actually guarantees a “fair voting system”.

    Why the D in DCAP?
    DCAP results can seem extremely counter-intuitive. E.g.: With 4 candidates, DCAP will correctly declare candidate D, with ZERO first preferences but 100% 2nd preferences, as the CLEAR STRONG DCAP winner with a DCAP score of 66.67% despite: Candidate A getting an ‘absolute majority’ with 51% of first preferences, but with a DCAP of only 51% due to A’s getting the largest share, 49%, of 4th-or-last preferences; and Candidate B getting 25% of both 1st and last preferences; and, C receiving 24% of first preferences.

    Although absolutely correct, this DCAP result is counter-intuitive and contrary to Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem. Hence the ‘D’ in DCAP to acknowledge that my D’Nalwen Certainty Theorem and DCAP guarantees a fair election counting method, and disproves Arrow’s so-called “Impossibility Theorem”, D’Nalwen being my surname in reverse. Full details are in the url link in my previous comment.

  • commented on A fair voting system 2021-08-23 09:50:39 +1000
    Does it allow for secret voting or are all votes associated to a user and searchable/traceable?

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