Group Voting Tickets in the Senate

Group voting tickets, better known as “above the line” voting, was introduced for Senate elections in 1984.

Political Parties and groups are able to register an official order of preferences with the Australian Electoral Commission. Groups that do so are given a box in the top section of the Senate ballot paper – “above the line”.

By placing a number “1” in one, and only one, box next to the name of a party or group in this section, the voter’s preferences are counted according to the way in which the party or group has officially registered their preferences with the AEC. Thus, voters do not have to number all of the boxes “below the line”.

A poster showing the order of preferences lodged with the AEC is displayed in the polling place.

Ticket voting only applies to the Senate ballot paper.

Ticket voting also is known as the “List System”.

The effect of the introduction of Group Voting Tickets in 1984 has been a substantial reduction in the number of informal votes in Senate elections, from a high of 9.9% in 1983 to a low of 2.5% in 2007.

Voters Using Senate Group Voting Tickets
Election Year No. of Voters % GVT
1984
7,444,624
85.7
1987
8,125,846
86.7
1990
9,077,731
91.4
1993
10,075,278
94.4
1996
10,283,560
94.4
1998
10,640,235
94.9
2001
11,074,008
95.2
2004
11,457,261
95.85
2007
12,249,344
96.78
2010
12,229,091
96.12
2013
12,941,989
96.49
2014 WA Senate (re-run)
1,219,795
95.46

Source: Australian Electoral Commission Publications.

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