Vic candidates' how-to-vote cards rejected

A community independent for a high-profile Melbourne seat is threatening court action over a dispute about her how-to-vote card design.

The Victorian Electoral Commission has told Brighton candidate Felicity Frederico her design for the November 26 state election is not permissible as it has blank boxes next to other candidates.

"Your district HTVC must not include any visuals of blank boxes next to candidate names," a VEC candidate services officer wrote in an email to Ms Frederico.

"The reason for this is that it may induce a voter to vote 1 for you, but not number all the remaining boxes. This would mislead the voter to cast an informal vote."

Ms Frederico is attempting to prise the southeast Melbourne seat from Liberal MP and shadow cabinet minister James Newbury, who holds it on a notional margin of 0.5 per cent after an electoral boundaries redistribution.

The former Bayside mayor quit the Liberal party after losing a preselection race against Mr Newbury last year.

Under Victoria's Electoral Act, how-to-vote cards must indicate the order of voting preference for all listed candidates or a statement that a number must be placed against each candidates name.

The Act states the Commission must refuse to register a how-to-vote card if it is likely to mislead or deceive an elector.

Ms Frederico's preferred design directs voters to "place a 1 in this box, then number all other boxes".

She says the VEC's interpretation of the legislation is wrong, with a similar design used by teal independent Monique Ryan during her successful campaign for the federal seat of Kooyong in May.

"I want an open ballot because, as an independent, I want voters to choose who their preferences go to," she told AAP on Saturday.

Kew Independent Sophie Torney also said the VEC would not accept her how-to-vote card.

"Can the Victorian Electoral Commission explain how our how to vote card is likely to mislead voters?" Ms Torney posted to Twitter.

Her card also asked voters to put a 1 next to her name and then number every other box.

"This is our how to vote card. It includes a mockup of the ballot paper and reminds voters THREE times to number all the boxes. But the VEC won't accept this."

How-to-vote card submissions for parties and candidates open on Monday, the same day as early voting begins across the state.

Designs must be registered with the VEC in order to be distributed on election day but it is not required at early voting centres.

Ms Frederico plans to submit two designs on Monday, including one as a back up that does not mention any other candidate on the ballot.

"I will definitely consider legal action if my preferred how-to-vote card is not registered," she said.

The VEC responded to questions about its ruling on social media, explaining that the issue lay with showing pictures of blank boxes next to the names of other candidates.

Lower house votes must contain a number next to the name of every candidate, or it would be considered invalid.

Candidates may still produce material to only 'vote 1' as long as it also included an instruction to number every box, it said.