Don't Know How To Vote? Don't Freak Out, Read This
The first time that I voted was in the 2016 federal election.
I remember being in my HSC Modern History class the week before the election and chatting to my classmates who were also voting for the first time. All of us were educated, active citizens with an interest in history. And yet, none of us really knew what the voting process involved.
Situations like these happen prior to every election -- some of our youngest, most informed voters actually have no idea what they are doing.
So without calling anyone out, here’s a simple guide to what you actually have to do when you go to vote for the first (or 10th) time.
The election official will give you two ballot papers -- a green one and a white one.
The green ballot paper is for the House of Representatives.
If you can remember your school excursion to Parliament House, that’s the green chamber. And if you can’t remember your school excursion, it’s the one where the Prime Minister of the day can regularly be seen yelling across the chamber at members of the Opposition.
The House of Representatives is made up of 151 elected representatives. You vote for your member in the House of Representatives using the green ballot paper.
The paper has a list of the candidates’ names with an empty box next to each.
You need to write a ‘1’ in the empty box next to the name of the candidate that you most prefer.
Continue numbering the boxes next to candidates’ names in order of who you most prefer to be your elected representative.
The white ballot paper is for the Senate, or Upper House.
The Senate includes 76 people; 12 from each state and two from each territory.
This one is a little more complicated; there are two options for filling out the white ballot paper. When you get the ballot paper you’ll notice a big black line on it.
Above the line is a list of political parties. Below the line is a list of individual candidates. You have the option of voting above or below the line.
If you vote above the line, you pick the group who you’d most like to represent your state and number them ‘1’. You should then continue to number the groups in descending order of preference until at least six boxes have been filled. Once six boxes have been filled out, you can choose to stop or keep going.
If you vote below the line, pick the candidate you’d most like to represent your state and number them ‘1’. You should then continue to number the candidates in descending order of preference until at least 12 boxes are filled out. Once you have filled 12 boxes, you can choose to stop or keep going. If there are less than 12 candidates, you must fill out all boxes.
Once you have finished filling out both ballot papers. Put your green ballot paper in the ballot box marked, ‘Green’ and your white ballot paper in the ballot box marked ‘White’.
Oh, and don’t forget your democracy sausage.
For further guidance on how to vote, click here.