I’ve just voted, and despite the temptation to take the easy way of voting above the line in the Senate, I resisted, because I really don’t want to allow my preferences to be decided by the political party I vote for above the line – so I struggled on and filled in all 110 boxes under the line.
At one point as I was sliding the ballot paper side-to-side in the narrow voting booth, the paper nearly slipped down the crack at the side of the booth and disappeared – I rescued it just in time. Additionally by the time I got to number 110, the pencil I was using was in serious need of re-sharpening – there is a non-trivial possibility that some people voting below the line will cast informal votes because of blunt pencils.
It’s pretty clear that the current system is broken and needs to be reformed in one or more of the following ways:
- Tighter rules for nominating candidates/parties, to restrict the number of candidates to a sensible level.
- Allow preferential voting above the line. i.e. allow numbering the parties (not candidates) in order of preference.
- Have a minimum allowable number of votes below the line to cast a formal vote. e.g. like in NSW where as long as you’ve numbered 1 to 15 (or more) then the vote is valid.