Why your #1 vote can be your most or least powerful

Why your #1 vote can be your most or least powerful

Make your vote work as hard as possible. Preference the 3 major parties as low on your ballot as you are comfortable with.

The short version: Vote 1 & 2 for David Pollard and Stephanie Pollard, and then number any candidates as you see fit, or leave the rest blank

All the election posters and flyers call for you to “Vote #1” for someone, but it is more than just a want – it is a need. Speaking practically, that #1 vote is what elects candidates. In Yerrabi in 2016, the 5 candidates who were eventually elected received the most #1 votes.

Say you put a few Independents or minor parties #1 and #2, then a single major party candidate #3, then a few more minor parties and Independents #4 and #5, and so on. Practically speaking, your ballot tries hard to elect those #1 and #2 candidates before resting with the #3 major party candidate. Even if that candidate doesn’t get elected, your #4 and #5 preferences will likely be eliminated before your vote moves on from #3.

Essentially, your vote has not worked very hard. Someone who has voted the major parties last has had their vote go through every other candidate before it stops to rest.

What if I don’t want to put the majors last?

I get it; I don’t put them last myself. They rate as low as I am comfortable with, if at all. Not all major party candidates appear on my ballot – not by a long shot. I will vote for at least 1 or 2, after most Independents and Minor parties. That way I still get a say in who forms government, even though I want them moderated by a crossbench.

How many numbers should I fill in on my ballot?

If there is a candidate you do not want in the Legislative Assembly, do not give them a number at all. If that means you only number 2 or 3 candidates, that is a valid vote, but you are not using the full strength of your vote. Number all candidates that you are comfortable with in the Assembly.

You can go through more of the detail of preference distribution at Elections ACT.

What about electoral funding?

Your #1 votes comes with $8.62 attached (see bottom of this page). It is only paid if the Party you vote for gets 4% of #1 votes. By voting #1 for a major party, you are reimbursing them with $8.62 for letterbox flyers and campaign phone calls.

If you vote #1 for a Minor Party or Independent and they do not earn 4% of the #1 vote, the $8.62 is not given to anyone.

So how should I vote?

Inform yourself of the Minor Parties and Independents contesting in your electorate, and decide which of those best represent you. Once you have determined that, do the same for the Major Parties.

There are many ways to get informed:

  • Review the candidate statements at the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy
  • Use the Smartvote tool developed by ANU as a guide (it is good at painting a particular picture, but doesn’t factor in many policy areas).
  • Review candidates websites and social media.
  • Send them an email or call them to discuss a topic of interest.
  • Engage with them at the shops or at campaign stalls.

In the voting booth, I recommend you vote at least #1 through #10 for Minor Parties and Independents, before moving on to any palatable major party candidates.

I’ll get you started: Vote 1 & 2, David Pollard & Stephanie Pollard.

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