Brush up on Senate votes

Pilbara News - - Federal Election 2016 - Rourke Walsh

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.

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