Prematurely opened ballot boxes

In our last editorial, we wrote that Electoral Reform Australia had made a submission to the Commonwealth Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) in relation to a proposed change to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 which would mean that all ballots in a prematurely opened ballot box would be excluded from the count.
We are pleased to say that the JSCEM took our concerns into consideration in their final report, which referred to our written submission and the oral evidence given by Electoral Reform Australia Vice President Stephen Lesslie. (The minority report also drew heavily on our submissions.)
As a result, the new section 238B requires the AEC to include ballots from a prematurely opened ballot box, unless they are satisfied that the ballots have been tampered with.
This new provision ensures the integrity of the electoral system is maintained, but does not result in the unnecessary exclusion of ballots that could have occurred under the initial draft legislation.

Adelaide City Council Discriminates Against Plutocrats!

Adelaide City Council currently chooses its Lord Mayor and Councillors in five separate elections: one for Lord Mayor; one for 5 Area Councillors; and three ward elections electing 2 Ward Councillors each.

Is this system fair? Are all plutocrats treated equally?

Councillor Election

Consider the influence of the following voters in the election of councillors:

Voter A  – Net worth $500,000

Owns, with the bank, two small rental properties in two different wards and lives with his parents in the third ward.

Number of Votes = 5  (1 Mayoral; 1 Area Councillor; 3 Ward Councillors)

Voter B – Net worth $10 million

Owns two factories in different wards and lives on Kangaroo Island

Number of Votes = 4   (1 Mayoral; 1 Area Councillor; 2 Ward Councillors)

Voter C – Net worth $100 million

Owns three office blocks in the central business district and lives in the penthouse of one of them.

Number of Votes = 3  (1 Mayoral; 1 Area Councillor; 1 Ward Councillor)

Is that fair?

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ACT Election 2012: Electorate of Molonglo

  • STV Election for seven (7) positions
  • 28 Candidates
  • 6 Groups and 2 ungrouped candidates
  • Informal Vote 2.9%

Katy Gallagher (Labor) was elected on the first count with over a quota. Her surplus was distributed and there were no exhausted votes. Naturally there had to have been votes which gave Gallagher only a single 1 but these votes remained with Gallagher and the surplus was carried by the other votes. After her surplus was distributed, no other candidate had a quota; candidates were then excluded from the bottom.

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Compulsory Marking of Preferences: the Australian Disease

by Stephen Lesslie

Few intellectual tyrannies can be more recalcitrant than the truths that everybody knows and nearly no one can defend with any decent data (for who needs proof of anything so obvious). — Stephen J. Gould

In the April edition we examined the “truth” that STV electorates must contain an odd number of members.

In this edition we examine the “truth” that in a STV election voters must indicate preferences for more than one candidate.

In STV elections in Australia, this number varies from all candidates to at least half of the candidates to be elected. Only in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is a vote valid if only one preference is marked.

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