Tasmanian Times

Kevin Bonham

Hare-Clark: The exhausting system explained

#29 – if one of the minor Green candidates does pick up lots of preferences because of their profile then that only helps O’Halloran if they then flow to O’Halloran; chances are if they are preferences to the person because someone knows him and not to the ticket then they won’t do so.

I do think the robocall episode knocked something off the Greens’ support in Braddon but I also think the EMRS poll breakdowns in Braddon showed Green support at a level that was never believable in the first place. In my opinion, negative campaigning by one party against another in this election tended to drive voters to the third party in each case.

Shirley (#32), it is always best for all voters to number all the squares, although in many cases it doesn’t change anything. Putting someone last can never assist that candidate in any manner. Mark in #34 is correct. Putting someone second-last can only assist that candidate if they and the person you put last are the only two candidates left, and so on. This may be rare but putting someone last can be useful. Stopping at 5 is potentially wasting part of your vote. For instance if Andrew Wilkie loses to a Liberal it would probably be because of Greens who stopped at 5, while in Bass last election Kim Booth won partly because many Liberals stopped at 5 who might well have preferenced Labor over the Greens had they continued.

As for the terms:

Preferences – yes those are all the numbers that people put on their ballot papers: 1 for first preference, 2 for second, 3 for third (etc). But not every voter’s second or other preferences are used in the count, depending on what happens to the candidate they voted 1 for. If you are a Greens voter and voted 1 for O’Connor, Booth, Morris or O’Halloran then your vote has done its bit by helping secure the election of those members (or in the case of O’Halloran attempting to, since we don’t know if he’s in yet). A Greens vote that was 1 for McKim in Franklin will continue on to other candidates at a reduced value as Nick has more votes than he needs.

Leakage – when a candidate is elected or excluded, nearly all their preferences go to another candidate from the same party, if there is one left in the count at that stage. But some voters vote across party lines and this causes some preferences to go to other parties. These preferences are said to have leaked.

Surplus – when a candidate gets more votes than they need to be elected, their surplus is the difference between what they have and what they needed to be elected. The votes that put them over the line are then passed on to other candidates, at a reduced value.

Excess – sometimes used the same way as “surplus” but also used to refer to what happens when a party’s candidates are all either elected or excluded and so the remaining votes for that party all leave it and go elsewhere.

Exhaust – this happens when every candidate a voter put a number next to is either elected or excluded and there is nowhere else that vote can go (eg a voter voted 1-5 for a given party and all candidates from that party are elected or excluded). The vote ceases to count and becomes useless from that point on in the count.

Pluralism – not an election count term, you’ll have to ask Chris what he meant when he used it.

Proportional voting systems – any system that attempts to match the percentage of seats gained by a party to the percentage of votes that party received, at least roughly. Such systems are used in the Tasmanian lower house, the Australian senate, and the upper houses of Vic, NSW, SA and WA.

SA vote – SA in that context stands for Socialist Alliance, who ran candidates in Franklin and Denison. While they both got less than 1% of the vote, their preferences may still affect the outcome in Denison.

Female candidates – some voters like to vote for more women in parliament and therefore tend to direct preferences from one female candidate to another, even across party lines. I don’t know if studies have been done in Aus to see how strong a pattern this is in State and Federal elections or whether it is actually not all that common at all.

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