Voting means we can support the candidates who will help us and remove politicians who won’t.
Let’s say we want to support Joe – because he’s pro-gun, and not Mary – because she wants hunting banned.
Voting in the lower house
Voting in the lower house (Legislative Assembly – your local area) is easy. You number your ballot paper according to how many candidates there are. So if there are 5 candidates in your area, you number Joe 1, and the rest from 2-5 – with Mary at 5.
Preference harvesting – the danger of simply voting 1 in the upper house
The upper house (or senate or legislative council – covering much wider areas of the state) is more complicated because there can be dozens of parties and nearly 100 candidates to choose from.
Rather than number all 100 candidates, the ballot paper allows you to vote “1” above the black line that runs across the ballot paper. It’s called “above the line” voting and its what 95% of voters do.
The problem is, just because you voted for Joe, the ‘preference deals’ that are struck can mean your vote ends up going straight to Mary – even though she’s the last person you would want to support. It’s called preference harvesting and is the number 1 problems shooters face when voting.
Let’s be clear about this: the preference deals are how crackpots like Rod Barton (Transport Matters Party), Fiona Patten (Reason Party) and Andy Meddick (Animal Justice Party) got elected. Ignore it, and you’ll see these same people elected again.