Thursday, 22 March 2007

Go your own sweet way

There's a New South Wales State Election on this Saturday (24th March, 2007 — last day of Daylight Saving). I get quite frustrated by all the discussion of 'preference deals' and people saying they "won't vote for X because they have preferenced Y" and they don't want to vote for Y.

One of the good parts of the Australian voting system is that YOU choose your preferences (especially in the Lower House (Assembly)), no matter what the different parties say on their How to Vote cards. [This applies to the Federal elections too, with some details being different between different States and between Federal and State electoral law.]

YOU CAN NUMBER ABOVE THE LINE NOW for the Upper House (Council). This is a welcome recent change, where before 'preference deals' did actually determine flows of votes in the Council election where — as most did because of the large number of candidates — you were only allowed to put a "1" 'above the line', in the box for your first-preferred group, and no more, or you had to number all the candidates separately 'below the line'. (This model was brought in after an election where the ballot paper was described as 'a table cloth'. I think there were 168 candidates that year; a big jump from previous ones.)

You *don't* need to fill in all the 362 boxes without error, despite the satisfaction of putting certain persons #362. [NOTE: To get listed together as a 'Group' with your own column you need at least 15 candidates. I think this has helped cause the even greater number of people. Perhaps we can persuade a change, so a group of 5 or 10 candidates can get their own listing.]

OTOH, in the last few elections, trying to decide between the despicable which I despised most was quite difficult. Who to give the final place to?

Also, if you want to put several 'independent' Upper House parties before the major two, find their names out at the and search out both their listed preferences there, and whatever you can find of their own online presence to see if you think they're a good-sounding front for possibly the exact opposite of their name, like some of the 'parties' produced for the previous election seem to have been.

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