AEC releases preferential system explainer ahead of election

By Anna Macdonald

Thursday May 12, 2022

election ballot papers
The AEC has posted to its website a how-to-vote guide. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

With record numbers of Australians enrolled to vote, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has issued a guide on how to complete a ballot paper and outlined how preferences function in the lead up to the federal election on May 21.

The AEC has published animated explainer videos to assist voters. Additionally, a how-to-vote guide has been published on the AEC’s website. 

The commission has emphasised that in Australian elections, voters cannot waste their vote in the House of Representatives as votes are transferred in full value. 

A vote is counted in order of preference on the ballot paper, with the candidate with the least amount of votes excluded as the votes are tallied until the final two candidates are selected, with one ultimately selected with the most votes. 

“The count always follows the numbers and the power is always with the voter,” the AEC said. 

For the senate, the AEC has released a separate animated video to describe the difference between above the line and below the line voting. 

 In both videos, the AEC tells voters not to ‘overthink’ it. 

According to the AEC, roughly 7,000 polling places will be open across the country, with early voting available up until the day before, May 20. 

AEC has been notably prominent on social media, particularly Twitter, using more casual language and humour in its mission to take on voting misinformation during this election.


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