Preferences and how they work

PREFERENTIAL voting often confuses people at the ballot box, especially with the rules differing between federal and state elections.

Australian Electoral Commission regional officer Trevor Jordan said on the House of Representatives ballot, voters must number all the boxes starting at one.

On first count, the contender with the least number of votes is eliminated and the number two vote of those ballots is divided between candidates.

“I think it was introduced because it gave people more options, with the ability to direct preference and have a second choice of sorts,” Mr Jordan said.

On the Senate ballot, above the line voters need to number their preferred party as number one.

Preferences from that vote will be directed as the party chooses.

Voters also have the option of numbering every candidate below the line.

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