Nationals' Senate 'how-to-vote' handouts have some voters confused, if questions to The Land are an indication.
The Nationals' how-to-vote card shows below-the-line Column D where there are six candidates (four Liberal and two National) and each is numbered from 1 to 6 in the Nationals' preference.
Enquirers to The Land had said party members had indicated voters need only number six of the 12 boxes below the line.
The question was raised as to whether this would be a formal vote if the remaining six boxes were left blank?
A Nationals Inverell party office person confirmed the how-to-vote was in accordance to electoral specifications.
The point of confusion seems to have arisen because there are two options, one being to number the boxes below the line 1-12; the second option, also for below the line, being the vote-savings provision.
According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), voters can number 1-12 below the line, which will constitute a formal vote.
This is explained in the Act, which says "the requirement for a formal vote when voting below the line is that at least the numbers 1 to 12 are marked in the squares printed on the ballot paper (subsection 239(1))".
However, there is a vote-savings provision for senate ballot papers that can operate below the line, where at least six squares have been marked 1 to 6 using consecutive numbers (section 268A).
This also constitutes a formal vote.
Therefore, voters can also number boxes below the line, 1-6, using consecutive numbers to complete a formal vote.
If voting abovethe line, at least six boxes must be marked 1 to 6 in the order of a voter's preference.