Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why preferential voting matters

I was surprised yesterday when one of my friends admitted that they weren't aware of the advantage of voting first for a minor party and preferencing a major party. She was just going to vote for the ALP first.

Preferential voting works as follows:

  • You put a minor party (eg, Greens) first. Another party (eg, ALP) second.
  • If the party that you placed first gets more than 4% of the primary vote, they get funding of roughly $2 per vote ($2.40?). If your first choice does not win the majority (50% + 1) of the vote, your vote is then transferred to your next preference (second count). And so on until a candidate receives the majority vote.
So, by voting for a minor party first, even if you know they won't win the majority, helps them by (hopefully) giving them funding for part of their campaign, and sends the message to the major parties that the smaller parties and their policies cannot be discounted.

Don't waste your vote!