In support of preferential voting

IF everyone knew the importance of our democratic right to preference, it would not be necessary to make it compulsory.

A brief explanation: suppose there are three candidates standing in an electorate - LNP, Labor, and an Independent.

Suppose supporters of the Independent prefer LNP to Labor.

If they don't show their preference, Labor will most likely get the most votes (even if they get less than 50% of total votes).

By not allocating preferences, the Independent supporters have basically become disenfranchised - they have lost their vote and the say as to which major party they prefer.

Remember, if they preference LNP first and Independent second, the Independent will not get any of the vote.

Unlike the Senate, preferences are only counted upwards, not downwards.

So if we vote for a major party first, then a minor party second, the minor party will not get any of your vote.

This all means that if all of us just vote 1, we can have an unpopular winner.

In our recent Council elections, because many voters just voted 1, Kerry Silver in Division 3 got only 3,364 votes after preferences were distributed, out of a total of 8,559 voters - just 39.3% of voters actually supported or preferenced her.

The same happened in Division 5 where Wayne Wendt got only 38.1% after preferences (3,445 votes out of a total of 8,559 voters).

This is not democracy.

The 'Just Vote 1' was a very clever campaign to win with a minority of support.

If a significant proportion of voters opt to not allocate preferences, we will end up with a dictatorship by just the two major parties.

Be careful what you wish for.

CLARE RUDKIN Barellan Point

 

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