On election day this Saturday you will have some big decisions to make, including whether you are going to vote above the line or below the line on the Legislative Council ballot paper.
Half of the positions in the Council are up for grabs this election. These 21 positions are being contested by 346 candidates. You might have already decided on the candidate (is a friend or relative of yours running?) or party that you want to put first, but have you thought about who you want to put second, third, fourth and so on?
To vote above the line you must put a number one in one of the group voting squares above the thick horizontal line on the ballot paper. By doing this you are voting for that whole group of candidates in the order they are listed below the square. Selecting one group is all you have to do for your vote to count. You can make other choices if you want, starting with the number 2 above the line.
That all sounds so easy and simple you might wonder why anyone would want to vote below the line. Ask yourself the following:
- Do I want to vote for candidates within a group in the order of my choice?
- Do I want to vote for candidates from different groups in the order of my choice?
- Do I want to vote for ungrouped candidates? (there will be two lots of ungrouped candidates on the 2019 ballot paper – that is two lists of candidates that do not have a group voting square above the line)
- Do I want to vote for a mixture of grouped and ungrouped candidates?
If any of the above apply to you then you can vote below the line. This is what you have to do: You must put a number 1 next to your first choice candidate. Then you must put number 2, then number 3 and continue until number 15. You must choose at least 15 candidates for your vote to count. If you want you can show more choices by putting more numbers, starting with the number 16.
It’s very important to note that marking your ballot paper above and below the line can make it invalid.
So remember – it’s either above the line, where you have to select at least one group OR below the line, where you have to select at least 15 candidates – and make your vote count this Saturday.
NSW Parliament’s Election Webpage
This page provides links to dates, caretaker convention, electorates and education resources. Our favourite link is to Antony Green’s election blog