With regards to the upcoming 2022 election, Antony Green addresses your concerns and offers advice.
On election night, he is the person who sits in front of the big screen and makes the call on whether or not the election should be called.
Due to the fact that he has covered more than 90 elections since 1989, Antony Green, who is the chief election analyst for the ABC, is one of the few people who knows more about elections than anyone else.
At the beginning of this week, Antony, along with Andrew Probyn and Patricia Karvelas, joined us on the ABC Election Live Blog to respond to some of the most pressing questions you all had regarding the upcoming election.
In case you were unaware, here are Antony's most helpful responses.
What is the mechanism behind preferences?
Could you please explain preferences and how much weight they carry in the final tally? — Adam
For victory, a candidate needs to receive votes equal to or greater than 50% of the total. In the event that no candidate receives more than 50% of the first-preference votes, the candidate who received the fewest votes will be eliminated, and their ballot papers will be reexamined and transferred to one of the candidates still in the running based on the voters' second, third, etc. preferences that they wrote on their ballot papers. The process of eliminating candidates and transferring their votes can continue until there are only two candidates left and one candidate has a greater number of votes than the other candidate.
These transfers are decided based on the numbers, or preferences, that voters write down on their ballots. The ballot paper of a voter is then transferred to continuing candidates in accordance with the voter's preferences.
Those voters whose ballots are examined for preferences but who have already indicated a preference for one of the final two candidates will have that preference ignored. Only votes cast for candidates who were not selected will have their ballots reviewed to determine their preferences.
The time it takes is 2 minutes and 28 seconds. 2m 28s
How quickly will votes cast early and through the mail be counted?
This election, do we anticipate any changes to the speed at which the vote will be counted for those who vote early or by mail? I was informed that the procedure would be improved, but I wasn't provided with any specifics. — Tim
Because of recent amendments to the Electoral Act, pre-poll ballot boxes can now be opened on election day beginning at 4 o'clock. This will make it possible to unfold and sort the ballot papers before the count begins at six o'clock in the evening. Due to the fact that some of these pre-poll counts have more than 10,000 votes, the process of unfolding ballot papers can result in a significant delay in the beginning of the count. These sorts will be carried out under lockdown conditions, which will prevent scrutineers from reporting what they see before 6 o'clock in the evening.
It is now possible to pre-process votes cast by mail, which involves removing votes from their declaration envelopes in advance of election day. On the other hand, the Australian Electoral Commission will not be counting postal votes on election night. The counting of votes cast in pre-poll centers, which is more important than counting votes cast via postal ballots, will be handled by tens of thousands of additional staff members. Pre-poll votes are expected to outnumber postal ballots by a factor of three to four. The Australian Electoral Commission plans to count some postal votes on the Sunday following the election.
It is anticipated that the new method of counting pre-poll ballots will deliver more pre-poll counts earlier in the evening, which will ensure that we do not have to wait until after midnight for the final pre-poll counts.
How will I be able to vote if I have COVID on election day?
How will we cast our ballots in this election if we are mandated to remain in self-imposed isolation for a period of seven days due to the unfortunate timing of a positive COVID test after this Saturday? — Having Fun with a COVID at Home
Make contact with the Australian Electoral Commission, which, due to COVID isolation, is able to accept votes via telephone.
Would it ever be possible for us to have elections on a specific date?
Is there even a remote possibility that, in some unspecified time in the future, election dates might be fixed? In my opinion, the pre-campaign date rumors, inconsistent term lengths, and random funding of political marketing material do not contribute in any way that is beneficial to our democracy. — James, Northern Most Part of Queensland
However, in order for this change to become permanent, a referendum will need to be held.
It is feasible for parliament to pass a law establishing dates for when elections can be held; however, such a law might be subject to change in the future. The fact that such a law would be unable to restrict the use of the Governor-General's power to grant the request of the Prime Minister to hold a double dissolution election is one of the challenges it would present.
What are some ways that I can learn about a candidate's preferences?
How can I find out how the preference votes will be distributed among the candidates? - Sally F
There are no preferences held by candidates. Voters are the only ones who can express their preferences through the numbers they write on their ballots.
Candidates and parties can try to influence what a voter writes on the ballot paper, but they can't control or change the voter's choice. Candidates and parties can try to influence what a voter writes on the ballot paper. On each and every ballot, one hundred percent of the voter's preferences go in the direction that they are directed.
Up until 2016, parties had the ability to control between party preferences on ballot papers. However, in 2016, that method of party control was eliminated. No matter whether you vote above or below the line on the Senate ballot paper, preferences between parties are now being decided entirely by the voter.
Consider how the events of the Australian federal election in 2022 transpired.
What modifications to the electoral rules would you like to see?
If any rule changes were made to our current election process, which ones, in Anthony's opinion, would result in a positive change? - Nat
Something that would allow a greater number of votes that are currently being disregarded as informal to be included in the count.
Voters are required to indicate their preferences for each and every candidate. Even if those preferences are never required to be considered in the tally, they still need to be present in order for the vote to be considered official and for them to be included in the tally. It seems ridiculous to me that a ballot could be thrown out because it is missing a preference that does not need to be checked in order to determine who the victor is.
The example that I will use is the by-election that took place in Bradfield in 2009. 73,000 ballots were cast, and there were 22 total candidates, nine of whom were Christian Democrats. The candidate for the Liberal Party received 56% of the vote in the first preference category. Despite this, each and every one of those 73,000 ballot papers was checked to make sure that they all contained a valid order of 22 preferences. This was done despite the fact that not a single preference needed to be checked in order to establish who the victor was. Even people who voted "1" for the Liberal candidate ran the risk of having their vote declared invalid because they mixed up the order in which they numbered the nine candidates running for Christian Democrats, all of whom received a very small number of votes.
We need broad principles that enable more votes to count as opposed to stringent rules that define what can't be counted.
Can I make sure that only one political party receives my vote?
How should I cast my ballot on the ballot paper if I don't want to give any preferences? How can I make sure that my vote is cast exclusively for the Liberal Nationals, without any preferences, for instance, and not for any other candidate? — Dave, QLD
In order for your vote to be counted, you must number each individual square on the ballot for the House of Representatives. Therefore, you are required to select a preference number for each candidate. If you don't do that, then your vote is considered invalid and nobody will count it.
On the ballot for the Senate, it is not necessary for you to fill in each and every square. You are not required to vote for specific parties or candidates if you do not wish to choose between specific candidates or if you simply do not wish to vote for those parties or candidates. You are required, according to the instructions on the ballot paper, to number a minimum of six party boxes above the line OR a minimum of 12 candidate boxes below the line. You are free to go over the required number, and any additional preferences you have will still be taken into consideration. The more preferences you list, the higher the chance that your vote will be counted after all the others have been eliminated.
Where is it more feasible for an independent candidate to win office?
Which of the two houses of Congress is more difficult for an independent candidate to win? the House of Representatives or the Senate. — Liz, WA
It is much simpler to win election to the House of Representatives than it is to win election to the Senate in every state besides Tasmania. You need a lower number of votes to pass in the House. It is also much simpler to establish a strong reputation in a single electoral district as opposed to elevating one's profile across the entirety of the state.
There are 47 seats up for election in NSW, and a candidate needs only half of the votes in one seat to win election. That amounts to approximately one percent of the votes cast in the state. In order to get elected to the Senate in New South Wales, a candidate needs at least 7% of the state vote, which is a much higher hurdle.
The state of Tasmania has a total of five House seats and six Senate seats. To win a seat in the House of Representatives requires roughly 10 percent of the vote in the state. Because a half quota in the Senate requires 7% of the vote, the number of votes required for election to the Senate in Tasmania can be lower than the number of votes required for election to the House. However, a candidate would need a profile across the entire state, which is much more difficult to achieve than simply being well-known in the immediate area.
During this election, which seats will be called first and which will be called last? Matthew, New South Wales
The seats that are called out first will be the most secure, while the seats that are called out last will have the most competitive race. There is not a fixed number of seats, so any one of them could be the first one called. The seat that is the furthest away will determine which number is called last.
Are you able to reveal the information to the ABC election board?
Can you tell me, Antony, how you and your team ensure that your board is functioning properly on election night? — Joshua
It's just an interface for a browser, but instead of using a mouse, you're operating it with your finger on the screen. Simply put, it's a large external monitor that's being used in place of the screen on the laptop that's doing the driving.
The information comes to the ABC computer from the AEC. All of this information is saved, calculations are performed, and a number of graphic data files are produced; the software that controls the touchscreen reads these files when I make a request using the buttons on the screen.
The screen, on its own, has a very solid track record. The most significant issues that have arisen over the years have been due to delays in the network. We've gained the expertise over the years to fine-tune the locations to which data is written in order to prevent pauses in network traffic.
What's the deal with the lack of electronic rolls at polling places?
Who or what is preventing the use of electronic voter rolls in polling places? — Ian, Australian Electoral Commission
I will assume that you are drawing parallels between this and the workings of the ACT Electoral Commission. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is a city state that has approximately 120 polling places. Additionally, votes for all electorates are collected at each polling location, which is another reason why an electronic roll is helpful.
The Australian Electoral Commission is responsible for the operation of more than 8,000 polling places and voting centres across the country. They are using electronic rolls in pre-poll centers as well as some polling places, particularly those polling places where they anticipate a high number of absent votes.
When compared to the ACT, holding a national election presents a simple problem of scale, in addition to financial considerations. Do you rent or purchase the necessary equipment? If you buy the equipment, it is possible that it will only be used once, and hiring relies on suppliers being able to supply enough equipment for a single event.
Would it be possible for Australia to switch to a different electoral system at some point?
Do you ever see the possibility of Australia adopting a mixed-member proportional representation system like New Zealand and Germany, or even seriously discussing the possibility of doing so? It is puzzling that the National Party was able to secure 10 seats despite receiving less than 5% of the vote, while the Green Party was only able to secure one seat despite receiving more than 10% of the vote. Maintain the fantastic coverage, please. — Dan
They could make a move to adopt a proportional voting system, but I highly doubt mixed-member proportional voting would be chosen. MMP is not a preferential voting system, and Australians have a strong attachment to expressing their preferences in elections.
Keep up with our coverage: read up on all the latest news and analysis regarding the federal election.
The time it takes is 4 minutes and 53 seconds. 4m 53s
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