The World Today is a ‘news hour’ program that is broadcast on weekdays by ABC Radio National and Local Radio stations across Australia. Today’s program (5 September 2013) included a segment, How to not waste your vote come election day, featuring an interview with Steve Kennedy, Director of Operations with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in Victoria.
In the course of the interview, Mr Kennedy said: “Writing a slogan [on a ballot paper] does not in itself render a vote informal.”
Mr Kennedy also stated: “…as long as the boxes are numbered, that’s still formal, even if they write a slogan. The only time it renders it informal is if they write across the candidate’s name or across the boxes and we can’t make out the numbers.”
“Every election we get different slogans,” he said, and referred to examples such as ‘No Franklin Dam’ and ‘No Tampa’.
Read the full transcript and listen to the segment online via the ABC website, or listen via this MP3 file:
With Mr Kennedy’s statement today, the AEC has reconfirmed its advice that you can write extra words on a ballot paper, and that your formal vote will still be valid despite extra markings, so long as you don’t obscure your numbered squares and providing that you do not include markings that reveal your identity.
This removes any doubt about whether ‘write-on’ messages might cause a vote to be assessed as informal. It is clear that messages can be added to the blank areas of ballot papers.
Therefore, voters can be confident that writing REDUCE IMMIGRATION in the blank space at the top of a ballot paper will not invalidate an otherwise formal vote.
Spread the word!