Posters, numbers, boxes…its all quite overwhelming on polling day.
When you get your form and head to the polls on the 31st of January you’ll be voting under the Optional Preferential Voting (OPV) system.
This voting system is not new to Queensland – a form of OPV was used here from 1892 to 1942 and reintroduced in 1991.
OPV is an unusual, if not unique, voting system and while the ballot gives you directions on how to cast your vote, we’ve delved a little deeper.
This voting system gives voters more options to express their political opinions, while at the same time preserves the voting choice available under full preferential voting.
Under preferential voting, voters have the opportunity to rank candidates in order of preference (1, 2, 3, and so on).
To win, a candidate must obtain a majority (more than half) of total formal votes in the count.
Measure this against first-past-the-post voting, where electors do not express preferences beyond a first choice (they vote ‘1’ only).
To win, a candidate must gain more votes than any other candidate. A majority of total formal votes is not required.
OPV adds two additional options to the voter’s choice, so that a valid vote may be cast by:
1. expressing a single primary preference for one candidate only, leaving all other squares blank (this is called ‘plumping’ for one candidate)
2. expressing a partial distribution of preferences by voting for some, but not all candidates on the ballot paper (for example, voting 1, 2, 3 on a ballot with five candidates)
3. expressing a full distribution of preferences (that is, marking every square in order of preference).