Brush up on Senate votes
The Australian Electoral Commission is urging voters to read the instructions on their Senate ballot papers carefully this Saturday, after changes earlier this year to the way votes are cast.
For the Senate, the legislation now requires voters to either number at least six boxes above the line for the parties or groups of their choice, or to number at least 12 boxes below the line for individual candidates of their choice.
In total, 79 candidates have nominated for the 12 Senate vacancies in WA, up from the 62 who nominated for the six spots on offer at the 2013 poll.
Currently in WA, the Liberals hold six Senate seats, Labor hold three, the Greens hold two and the Palmer United Party’s Dio Wang occupies the remaining seat.
Among the candidates for WA are seven Liberals, seven from the Labor Party, six Greens, three from the WA Nationals and three from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
Other minor parties running candidates in WA include the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Nick Xenophon Team, the Socialist Alliance, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, the Palmer United Party, the Australian Liberty Alliance and the Liberal Democrats.
There are also four independent candidates not aligned to any party.
Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said with so many candidates on the ticket, it was important voters followed the instructions on how to mark their ballot paper.
“How voters mark their Senate ballot paper determines whether their vote can be counted, how their preferences will flow to the candidates they have chosen and when their vote exhausts,” he said.
“Voters are encouraged to follow the instructions on the ballot paper, or there is a risk their vote may be informal and won’t be included in the count.”
Mr Tom Rogers urged voters to use the practice voting tool available on the AEC website (www.aec .gov.au) and follow the instructions on the ballot paper to avoid casting an informal vote.