How to Vote Cards
At the entrance to the Polling station you might be accosted by people dressed in different colours offering you ‘How to Vote’ cards, it is always good practice, unless you have already pre-determined who to vote for, to accept cards from at least a few of the major parties, for the reason that whilst you are standing in line waiting for your ballot papers you might wish to quickly review who to vote for, and does keeps the parties handing out cards guessing, which can be a good thing.
When you are inside the polling station you will receive two ballot papers: a small one for the Lower House known as the Legislative Assembly and the other a very long one for the Upper House known as the Legislative Council.
The Legislative Council has 93 members. This is where you will vote for our local member for the seat of Myall Lakes. The voting system is called ‘optional preferential’ which means you can place the number 1 in the square next to the candidate that you wish to elect. And then if you want, you can show more choices by putting the number 2 in the square next to your second choice and then a number 3 next to your third choice and so on. It’s up to you how many choices you show after the your first preference.
Please consider placing a preference number in all the squares and not just in one, particularly, if you intend to vote for one of the minor parties, as if and when, their votes are extinguished (if they didn’t get enough votes), your vote can still flow to your next preference, rather than also be extinguished.
Please read the instructions on the ballot paper carefully and if you make a mistake don’t be afraid to take the ballot paper back to the desk and get a fresh one. On the Myall Lakes ballot paper there will be six candidates representing five parties and one independent. See the ballot paper.
The Legislative Council consists of 42 members who are elected for 8 years. However, at each State Election we only vote to elect 21 members, much like what is termed a ‘half Senate election” in the Federal parliament. For the Legislative Council there are over 300 candidates spread across 20 Groups (parties) and one ungrouped lot of independents, which will make the ballot paper about a metre long.
This is where it can get very confusing so when you are voting take your time. This is also the ballot paper where you can vote either ‘above or below the line’.
Your ballot paper will have a thick horizontal line running across it, which means you can either only vote (enter numbers) above the line or below the line – NOT BOTH. This is also perhaps the situation where if you are not confident perhaps it is best to follow your preferred party’s how to vote card (if they have one).
Voting ‘above the line’
You must put a number 1 in one of the group voting squares above the thick horizontal line on the ballot paper. By doing this you are voting for that whole group of candidates in the order they are listed below that square, starting from the top. This is all you need to do, but you can show more choices, if you want, starting with the number 2 as long as you continue to vote above the line. Do not put numbers in any squares below the line as this may invalidate your vote.
Voting ‘below the line’
In voting ‘below the line’ you must choose at least 15 candidates ‘below the line’ for your vote to be counted, and you can show more choices by putting more numbers if you wish, starting with the number 16.
You can vote below the line if:
you want to vote for candidates within a group in the order of your choice
you want to vote for candidates from different groups in the order of your choice
you only want to vote for ungrouped candidates
you want to vote for a mixture of grouped and ungrouped candidates.
You must put a number 1 next to your first choice candidate. Then you must put number 2, then number 3 and continue until number 15, after which you can stop or continue on.
If you vote below the line, do not put numbers in any squares above the line as this may invalidate your vote.