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Preferential Voting



I can explain how preferential voting works and why it is used in Australia.


You’re in the mood for a chocolate bar/lolly/snack- you ask your parents and they give you $2 to go down to the milk bar- tell your partner what you’re planning to buy when you get there….




You get there and they have none of that!

Tell your partner what you’d do.




Share some responses to hear that some would buy their 2nd or 3rd choice

This is similar in some ways to our voting system.

You want a certain candidate but if they are not going to be elected you still want to be involved and choose another!



Preferential Voting: 03/09/2013, Behind the News

There are different voting systems used throughout the world.

Many countries use a simple majority system (also known as first past the post)
to elect representatives to parliament. Simple majority means that the person with the most votes is elected to the position. A country that uses this system is Great Britain.
An example of simple majority:
Twenty five students voted for the SRC class representative:
4 voted for candidate 1
6 voted for candidate 2
10 voted for candidate 3
5 voted for candidate 4
Most people voted for candidate 3. In a country that uses a simple majority vote candidate 3 would be elected as the representative because they received the greatest number of votes.

Australia uses preferential voting to elect representatives to parliament.
Voters must list candidates in order of their preference on the ballot paper. For example:

most preferred candidate -1s

econd preferred  candidate-2 and so on.

A candidate must receive over 50% of the vote- an absolute majority to be elected. In the above example candidate 3 would not be elected because they had not received over 50% of the vote (that is
13 votes.) because 15 students did not vote for candidate 3. If a voters first preference is unable to secure enough votes to be elected, their second preference is counted during a second count. For example candidate 1 only received 4 votes, so the voters’ vote would be transferred to their second preference.
The same example using preferential voting system with absolute majority:
1st count    2nd count        3rd count
Candidate 1                            ——                    ——
Candidate 2             6               6+1 = 7                   7+ 2= 9
Candidate 3             10           10+2 =12                12+4 = 16
Candidate 4             5               5+1 = 6                 ——-

———— ———— ———— ———— ———— —–
Total                         25              25                            25


Last weekend there was an election in the electorate of Batman.

Here are 2 “How to vote” cards from 2 candidates- what do you notice?

Here are the early results:

discuss what might happen……

WHY is all of this done? why not just make it the candidate with the most votes?


Use the dinner ballot sheet provided to vote on what’s for dinner.

Have a first past the post count and see how many people were UNHAPPY with the result compared to those who were between OK to HAPPY with the result.

Now do a preferential count. Now see how many people were UNHAPPY with the result compared to those who were between OK to HAPPY with the result.



Usually it is found that with a preferential count, fewer people are UNHAPPY. Why?


Goal Reflection:

Which do you prefer for elections-first past the post or preferential? Why?



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