Election Day 2013! #ausvotes #votebelowtheline

A dedicated thread for election day commentary.

A reminder: for those who have any particular person/party in mind that they want to put last on the ballot, you can print out a memory jogger “ticket” for voting below the line in the House of Representatives and the Senate from www.belowtheline.org.au – you can take it into the polling booth with you.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for another hung parliament myself, but I’m not super-confident. Either way a disturbing number of parliamentarians will be muppets, and they won’t sound nearly as good as The Muppets do.


Categories: parties and factions

Tags: ,

26 replies

  1. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, and who would like to vote below the line in the Senate election but is concerned about making a mistake and rendering their vote informal and uncounted, Antony Green’s post is comforting: http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2013/08/voting-below-the-line-in-the-senate.html
    In particular, he points out the savings provisions re informality. Specifically, you can make up to 3 errors (eg skipping a number) and miss some boxes (but fill in 90% or more) and your vote will still be counted.
    Also, if you vote both above and below the line, your vote below the line counts unless it’s informal, in which case your vote above the line counts. (Not sure which takes precedence if the BTL vote is technically informal but saved as described above – depends on how the legislation is worded, but I haven’t gone to check.)

  2. I pre-poll voted yesterday sans children so I could vote below the line in peace. I had my print out ready and it was handy to keep me on track. I hope it makes a difference.

  3. I filled out my 97 boxes below the line, and don’t envy you north of the border with the extra 13 to fill out: my voting blog post.
    Just a small heads-up of an amusing Twitter account to follow, but one Paul John Keating appears to have joined the twitterati, or if it isn’t him, he has an imitator who’s fully conversant with PJK’s well-known colourful use of vocab. He’s obviously not everyone’s cup of tea, but one thing that stands out is that I could imagine Keating actually saying out loud almost everything that he’s said on the Twitter account. (Also, he knows PJK minutiæ, like for example this conversation where he’s in a shouting match with a Keating parody account. The Ramrods is the name of the rock band Keating managed before he went into politics.)

  4. I’m pretty sure they do everything they can to “save” the BTL vote, and only go above as the last resort. But I wouldn’t try to finesse the system, do your best to vote formally BTL. The ballot paper is large enough you can make several mistakes without realising; that’s what the provisions are there for.
    I’m surprised at how many people in the comments to that post don’t understand the difference between the instructions in how to vote, and how the votes are actually counted. Or maybe they do, but are perpetual rules lawyers at life.

  5. Aqua, I think it’s more that people don’t understand how the AEC and the Electoral Act work. The AEC want people to vote according to §239, which specifies the preferred either ATL or BTL modes of Senate voting; if you mention anything else that might be saved they will ignore it and refer you back to that method of voting. The sections of the Act that ‘save’ votes from being regarded as informal, §269 and §270, are not preferred and not recommended by the AEC, even though they are legal. Poor Antony Green and other psephologists have to explain this over and over every election, but it seems there’s always people for whom it never sinks in.
    What is fundamentally broken is the Senate lottery where unrepresentative GVT preferences push nutter parties to a quota, which has now become an obvious rort of the electoral system. (It’s particularly obvious when you have two supposed ‘parties’ named ‘Shooting and Fishing’ and ‘Fishing and Lifestyle’, which can’t even be bothered to hide that they have exactly the same GVT distribution (themselves excepted), and thus are almost certainly a front for an overseas organisation that would like to increase the number of firearms in the country.) The low barrier to entry for the Senate combined with the lack of representation for the electorate’s preferences inherent in ATL is a real problem.
    It’s also fucking ridiculous (pardon my French) that the actual cardboard booths aren’t wide enough to accomodate the ballot paper so that you can have it flat from side to side. Again, ideally the provisions of the Electoral Act would be changed sometime in the future so that we don’t have farcical tablecloth ballot papers like the 1999 NSW Legislative Council and most of the recent Senate races.

  6. Re Senate votes: I slightly prefer https://www.clueyvoter.com/ for Senate preferencing. Its interface is less slick than Below the Line, but it randomises parties who I roughly equally like, which seems fairest.
    William Bowe has a summary of each party’s GVT, if you want to vote about the line for a party who you not only favour but who has preference flows you like.
    Bring on above the line preferencing, as we have in NSW state legislative council elections!

  7. In UK local elections, it works a bit like below the line voting (ie you number your preferences in order), but you get to stop whenever you want – so you can put just 1, or 1-10, or 1 to the end, or whatever in between. And, they just count whatever is on the paper, so if you only put 1, your ballot only counts in the first round of voting and is disgarded when second preferences come into play, and so on. I guess this could risk everybody only putting ‘1’ on the card and the preference system not working, but in practice this doesn’t happen. You could also compromise and say you have to put at least x number of preferences before giving up to ensure that this can’t happen. I find this preferable as there are some parties I couldn’t put a mark next to without feeling I some how validated their existence.
    In Australia, I can’t vote.

  8. Important: this is voting in NSW state elections ie NOT TODAY’S ELECTION. Do not use this as a basis for placing a formal vote today.
    Feminist Avatar, in NSW state elections, it works more like that. On the state lower house ballot, you can preference as many or as few candidates as you like.
    On the upper house ballot, you can preference individual candidates below the line, and must number to at least #15 or further. Or you can preference parties above the line, as many or as few as you like. I am fairly sure there’s no GTV either, so if you just put 1 above the line, your ballot is exhausted after all candidates from that party/group are either elected or excluded.
    I tend to preference above the line in NSW state elections; it’s rare that I can order candidates better than the party can itself.

  9. I have handed out how-to-votes for The Greens for 2 hours and done my below the line democratic duty. Next up, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
    I witnessed one man yell “NOT THE GREENS! You don’t want gay marriage!” at his wife as she took one of my leaflets and one young father growled “No! Back off!” at me when his daughter fell over in front of me and I went to help her up. Otherwise there were lots of smiles and nods and just enough “good lucks” to make it a fun experience. Plus, one woman came up to me after voting to ask how to join The Greens, she’d read the HTV, decided it was the only one that matched her concerns and wanted to join because it would annoy her son 🙂

  10. I think we’re agreeing violently, Xanthë. Section 239 tells you how to vote, sections 269 and 270 tells someone counting the votes how to count them. It so happens that by following 269&270, votes will be included in the count that “shouldn’t exist” if everyone voted according to 239, but this is quite reasonable, as people can and do make mistakes. The alternative seems to me to be some kind of perfectionistic rules lawyering. Or even worse of course, if it were possible to vote correctly according to (some hypothetical alternate) 239, but not be counted by (some hypothetical alternate) 269&270.

  11. My partner and his parents are all working at various polling booths today (yay, house to myself) and one of the things they have to do is count the votes at the end of the day (poor dears). I’m an evil, evil, evil person for choosing to vote below the line, in their opinion. Then again, I want to put the preferences the way I want them to flow, not the way the various thinkers (or lack thereof) in the various political parties want them to flow, so Himself and his folks will just have to wear it.

  12. Megpie, Antony Green reports (COMMENT to deb if the link doesn’t work) that BTL votes are recounted later, so that must be extra frustrating for workers (it’s good for the system to have duplicate counts, but not so much for the workers!) My in-laws also used to be booth workers and they mostly report feeling sorry for the vast bulk of (non-absent) declaration voters, who are unlikely in the extreme to turn out to be on the roll and have their vote count.
    I absent voted outside my seat, so no one is counting my BTL or any vote tonight.
    East coast booths have been closed for nearly an hour tonight, I gather the household I’m in tonight is switching to ABC1 once kids’ shows are done on 2.

  13. Current ABC1 discussion seems to be around how the ALP loss is definitive but smaller than expected, especially in Queensland (no seats to change parties on current projections) and NSW including Western Sydney (several seats to change parties but two are those of Oakeshott and Windsor, who are retiring).
    Interesting how small the increase in Coalition primary vote is too (about 1.4%), with much of the lost ALP and Greens primary going to other parties by the looks. I don’t know how much temperance this will mean in the Coalition legislative program though, presumably a fair bit of that other party vote is to far right small parties. The Senate will be interesting and maybe scary, there’s little talk of that yet.

    • I’m finding it interesting how sober the various winning pronouncements are on all sides – looks like the results were nothing quite like anybody expected/projected.
      The Senate looks like it will totally be maybe scary, but probably not scary enough to stand up to TA and prompt a DD.

  14. And so it begins.
    All I can say is how interesting it is that QLD seams to have hung onto its Labor seats. Perhaps Campbell Newmann did teach people something here. I await the ‘what have we done’ headlines in a few months.

  15. So is this a mandate or a ‘deal with this in the senate Abbott bwahahahahaha’.

  16. I very much hope the Abbott Coalition government and its ideological successors are history in the time of my daughter.

  17. I wonder how long it’ll take for Abbott to lose that gloating grin. I don’t even want to look at news media until he has.

  18. Watched Abbott walk in to give his speech. I am not 100% sure but fairly certain that Abbott ignored a woman with her hand out to shake his hand and instead moved straight on to the man beside her. He went on the stage by himself and his wife and daughters arrived at the end of his speech (we had it muted) but by that time Tony had already walked off into the adoring crowd and had to be reminded to come back for them. All three daughters were in white and Mrs Abbott wore black. Symbolic, who knows.
    I have seen some criticism of what Julie Bishop wore last night. Funnily enough it took a bloke on Twitter, Bernard Keane, to remind me and others that we refused to accept this when it was Gillard. So I must remain vigilant, regardless of my dislike for her politics, that I don’t indulge in that.

  19. Fancy: Adam Bandt won his seat again. What about all those polls saying he would lose because of the lack of Lib preferences? Clearly, they didn’t poll the people in the actual electorate.
    I had to give 2nd preference to the Sex Party in my electorate. I couldn’t in all good faith preference Clive Palmer, though I am looking forward to seeing him give Abbott heaps. I gave the Lib candidate 7, then realised there were only 6 candidates. Apparently, it would have still been a formal vote.
    Am having difficulty looking at the papers. The Guardian has a pic of Abbott in Lycra. Entirely unnecessary.

  20. Re Bandt, as best I can tell (from limited research) opinon polls have a weakness in that they ask for one’s first preference, and then model the outcome based on preference data from the previous election. (Asking people for their full ballot would presumably reduce responses, and maybe require a bigger sample size, so I can see why they do this.) Antony Green said on ABC last night that that means they’ve always been fairly bad at predicting new party successes (One Nation, and now Palmer United) and I can imagine that that reduces their ability to predict the outcome of any seat that isn’t a Coalition v ALP contest on 2PP, especially if Coalition voters in Melbourne aren’t big followers of How To Votes. But I don’t know for sure.

  21. I usually have quite a strict don’t-engage-with-the-unwashed-on-FB policy, but I just posted the most untempered slapdown of my life in reply to a post on the Keep Calm Abbott is Not… page, in reply to an assertion that I had misused the word misogyny.
    In conclusion: I think this whole thing may have been getting to me more than I realised.

  22. I did my democratic duty again, and staffed my local booth (the primary school my son attends), for the Greens all day. It’s a long day, but as a small party we’re not awash in volunteers, so I’d rather be there than have the booth left to Labor and Liberal (and this time, Nick Xenophon). I won two voters who were tossing up between Green and Xenophon, which was nice. The worst I had was one man throwing his Green HTV back at me after realising what it was. His wife picked it up apologetically. I also discovered that a married couple who are my neighbours – she’s a green voter, but isn’t telling him.

  23. I think this doesn’t quite count as election-free, so putting it here. Anne Summers will do a public interview of Julia Gillard at the Sydney Opera House on September 30 and Melbourne Town Hall on October 1.

  24. The Summers interview with Gillard tickets are already on sale and moving fast: Sydney Opera House, Mon Sep 30 6:30pm, Melbourne Town Hall, Tue Oct 1 6:30pm.

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