The Preferential Voting System is probably the fairest ever devised but it has been subverted by party politics . . . as everything tends to be.
The system essentially asks you, “Who do you want to vote for?” and you mark that down.
The key to the voting system’s fairness is that it then asks you “if your first choice isn’t going to win who would be your next choice?” . . . and so on.
Then if your first choice doesn’t get enough votes, your vote still gets counted for your second choice. Without a preferential system we have ludicrous democracies like Bill Clinton being elected President of the United States with 32% of the vote.
Nothing simpler and fairer than “ Preferential” . . . except we are given HOW TO VOTE CARDS.
How to vote cards instruct us who we want as second, third and more and then it is no longer our vote. We get to cast the first vote and then someone else does the rest for us. It should be called electoral fraud.
My dear mother – to her dying day – believed that if she didn’t follow the how to vote card her vote would be invalid. She would never take the risk that her vote may be deemed informal.
The greatest abuse of the voting system in Australia is the provision of How to Vote Cards. The elector and no one else should make the second, third, etc choice – because it is a choice. Sometimes the most critical choice in an electorate.
It should not be a back room negotiation or a political strategy.
Lets say the voter wants a generic “Right Wing” candidate – so that person gets his Number ONE vote. Then logically he would choose a “Right Tending” second choice – but back room deals and political strategies may have the How to Vote Card saying vote the Loony Tomato Party candidate next.
Not what the elector would want, but serves, within the system, to diminish the “Right Tending” candidate’s chances to be the winner when the preferential system gets down to the final two candidates. Its clever politics but not democracy.
So, dear voter, put down your number one choice, and then the next person YOU WANT. If you know more, keep going. YOUR preferences will be honoured by the counting and the results will better reflect what the public wants.
Of course this means you – the elector – have to know who you are voting for – but that’s not hard – the ballot paper identifies the parties – make your own order – make your vote reflect what you want . . . all the way down with the person, party or philosophy you loathe the last number.
It will probably split the big parties’ votes – but put more diversity into parliament, and in the long run get more people thinking the way you think elected, rather than supporting the entrenched status quo which clearly does not listen to us.