Preferencing

Some candidates shy away from preferences and preferencing for various reasons. If you decide not to participate in preferencing, you need to make an informed decision rather than one based on ignoring the system.
MayorSWilson- MCrooks -Linda-RHancock100yrs

Preferencing matters.

Even if you are standing in a rural community where every candidate is well known, it’s worth understanding preferences even if you decide not to direct them. Take preferencing firmly in both hands and learn how to ride it before you decide to walk away. After all, you are running your campaign with the idea of being elected.

Preferencing is part of Australia’s electoral system and it is designed to allow voters to choose their candidates in order of preference. Most candidates choose to advise their voters about how to order their preferences. The general community understanding of your how-to-vote card will be that it simply lists the candidates in order of your preference for their policies and values, starting with a number ‘1’ in the box next to your name. The expectation therefore will be that the number ‘2’ candidate on your how-to-vote card is the candidate who you consider ‘next best to you’ and so on.

In preference swapping, other candidates may also recommend to their supporters to put a ‘2’ or a ‘3’ next to your name. In very simple terms, the higher the numbers you get on the how-to-vote cards of your rivals the more chance of you getting elected. By preference swapping, you are attempting to get the highest numbers you can on the how-to-vote cards of other candidates.

However, it’s not so easy to get preferencing right.

It is complicated but give your campaign the best chance. At the least make sure you or someone in your campaign team  understands how it works. Then you are in a position to develop a strategy for dealing with it.

Find out more about preferencing in A Gender Agenda ( page 50 for more useful resources.) Also the VLGA website has some ideas.

It’s complicated!

• If there are more than 4 or 5 candidates
• If some candidates are very strong compared to others
• If there are undeclared “dummy” candidates
• If candidates lie about preferencing promises made to other candidates
• If voters choose to ignore “how-to-vote” cards