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How does preferential voting work?

Here's a quick explanation on: how does preferential voting work in Australia?

It’s pretty common to hear people talk about who they vote for.

But here’s something you may not know: you have to vote for everyone. Sort of.

Here’s a quick explanation on: how does preferential voting work in Australia?

How does preferential voting work?

Preferential voting is used to elect local members to the House of Representatives (which is where the Government is formed).

When you vote, you will need to rank every candidate running in your local electorate from first to last.

It’s not just your number one choice that matters – the order matters too, so you should think not just about who you like best but about what you think of everyone.

Why does the order matter?

How does preferential voting work

When the votes get counted, the first step is counting up everyone’s #1 vote.

Whichever candidate gets the least amount of first-preference votes gets eliminated. Anybody who voted #1 for that candidate has their vote transferred to their #2 choice.

This process repeats until only the top two candidates are left. Your vote will end up with whichever one you ranked higher – even if you put them last and second last!

Should I vote #1 for someone who can win?

How does preferential voting work

Not necessarily! You should vote #1 for whichever candidate you like the best.

It sounds simple because it is. You don’t need to worry about whether they have a ‘realistic chance’ of winning. Your vote won’t be ‘wasted’ if they lose, it will just move on to the next candidate on your list. So vote your own way!

What about the Senate?

How does preferential voting work

Voting for your local representative in the House of Representatives is one of your two jobs on election day. The other one is to vote for State or Territory representatives in the Senate.

That’s a slightly different system. Stay tuned for another post covering everything you need to know about it 👀

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