by Stephen Lesslie
As many of you know, Electoral Reform Australia has been a strong advocate for fully optional preferential voting. We believe that any vote that clearly indicates a first preference should be considered a formal vote. We believe voters should be encouraged to give further preferences but should not be punished if they choose not to.
Our philosophy is simple: when a voter has made a clear and unequivocal statement of their views, what gives a government the right to say that their voice will not be counted because they have numbered insufficient squares.
Can any reader explain why it is necessary to deny a voter their franchise?
I recently received the following example of a typical contribution to this debate:
“It is necessary to have some compulsory marking of preferences in order to preserve the proportional nature of the Senate voting system, which is the best in the world, but it is not necessary to require all 97 to be marked. The marking of preferences should be optional after, say, the first 20.”
Where is the mathematics and the research to justify this blunt assertion? More importantly, where is the humanity and the inclusivity that proportional representation should be encouraging? Continue reading