Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Voting above the line - will it bring on the apocalypse?

Last Federal Election, I spent a great deal of time printing out "how to vote" pdfs from the Australian Electoral Commission to reassure myself that I hadn't done anything that might have caused Family First's Steve Fielding to get elected. In fact, I hadn't - I'd spent a good ten minutes painstakingly voting below the line, numbering my preferences from 1 to about 15 or so, then going the other way and sequencing the bottom numbers from 63 up to about 40, then trying to remember where I was up to on each side so I didn't accidentally end up with two 36's and invalidate my vote.

(For non-Australian readers, voting is compulsory and enforced in this country, and it is preferential, which means you number your preferences in order, so that an electorate selects the candidate they despise the least. The AEC publishes a handy Flash guide here. It's pretty easy at the House of Reps level, where you'll have maybe 10 candidates at most to rank, but the Senate is where every unelectable freak chooses to express themselves, blowing out the numbers to 60-70 candidates. As a result, there is the option to vote "above the line", where you tick one box, say, Australian Democrats, and you accept that party's preferences. Understandably, it's a pretty hardcore political nerd who bothers to vote below the line.)

Anyhoo, for the current election I stumbled on the extremely useful listing of group voting tickets for the Senate. Simply pick the state you live in, download the pdf and find out how political parties are distributing their votes. Each party's votes cover two pages of pdf - just find the party closest to your ideological outlook and make sure they haven't done anything hilarious like preference a party that's largely against what most of their supporters would want just to spite a party that's reasonably similar to what most of their supporters would want. (You can interpret that any way you like.)

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