Request: please post sample format o

Tom Round TomR at
Sun Feb 9 23:31:16 PST 1997

Steve wrote:

>    This is a request for someone to post an example ballot used in STV
or MPV elections.  (Cambridge MA, Australia, and Ireland use ranked
ballot methods, so one of them will be suitable.)  I'm curious to
see what format has been chosen, as this has implications regarding
the technology used in the voting booth and afterward to tally the
ballots.  (Ideally, voting booths would contain computers to get
beyond the limitations of older technologies.)
     The San Francisco STV proposal (prop H) would have limited each
voter's ranking to 4 candidates.  Does Cambridge, Australia, or
Ireland use a format without such a drastic limitation?
     The Pasadena League of Women Voters will probably conduct a mock
ranked ballot election at its March meeting, and, all else being
equal, I'd prefer they use a ballot format already used in real
public elections.

Maybe you could see if the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has a 
home-page? That might show the ballot forms directly. Alternately, give me 
your postal address and I'll mail you a photo-copy of one.

(1)  For the House of Reps, all candidates are listed in a single vertical 
column with a square immediately to the left of their names. For the Senate, 
candidates are listed in several vertical columns - one per team of joint 
candidates "grouped by mutual consent" (ie, endorsed by the same party) - 
with one column at the end for the leftover "ungrouped" candidates, usually 
independents. Senate candidates also have a box left of their names.

Also, each grouped team has its own square "above the line" - a thick black 
horizontal line on the ballot-paper - immediately above its own column. A 
"1" in this square is deemed equal to copying out all the numbers on that 
party team's registered how-to-vote ticket.

Otherwise, voters must (in principle) number all candidates, consecutively, 
without repeating or omitting any numbers. There are a few marginal 
exceptions, aimed mainly at salvaging votes that'd otherwise be accidentally 
invalid than at encouraging voters to deliberately indicate indifference. 
For the House, one square can be left blank (this is deemed the last 
preference), and numbers can be repeated (the ballot is not invalid ab 
initio, but instead "exhausts" when it reaches the repeated numbers). For 
the Senate three mistakes (repeats and/or omissions and/or blanks, I 
_think_) are allowed when there are under 31 candidates, and four if there 
are 31 or more.

Candidates' names are presented in the following form:
|       | ROUND
|       | Thomas Joseph
|       | Rational Party of
 -----   Australia (RPA)

(2) As stated, Australia imposes no maximum limit on the number of 
preferences a voter can indicate. Instead the compulsion is the other way 
around. Even in those jurisdictions that provide for optional-preferential 
voting, the only cases where a single 1 makes a valid vote is when only one 
seat is to be filled (NSW, Queensland State elections). In the various PR 
systems, voters are required to specifiy a minimum number of preferences, 
usually equal to the number of seats to be filled (Tasmania, ACT) or some 
fraction thereof (NSW Upper House - formerly, with 15 to be elected, 10 or 
more preferences were required). In no case is a 1 sufficient for a valid 
vote, in the official instructions to voters, regardless of the number to be 

Tom Round
tomr at

Overflow-Cc: 100245.2440 at ('Geoff Powell'),
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   bmusidla at ('Bogey M'),
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   election-methods-list at ('Election methods'),
   GGoode at VTRLMEL1.TRL.OZ.AU (Goode, Geoff),
   hgnsw at ('John Webber'),
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   voting-systems at ('Voting-systems')

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