What is preferential voting and how does it work?
- In Australian elections, we use preferential voting, but how does it actually work? On the House of Representatives green ballot paper, voters will need to mark every box, 1, 2, 3, and so on, until all boxes have a number in order of preference for the candidate they wish to represent their electoral division. And on the Senate white ballot paper, you'll have the option of numbering at least six boxes for parties above the line or all candidates below the line in order of preference.
So the winning candidate needs to secure more than 50% of the first preference votes to claim absolute majority of the primary vote. And if no candidate reaches that majority threshold after first preferences are counted, the one with the fewest votes is excluded and their votes are distributed to the person nominated as their second choice. This process then continues with candidates being eliminated until one candidate has secured more than 50% of first preference votes to win the seat. Your preferential voting party preferences could prove vital at the Federal Election, particularly in marginal seats.