Electoral Pocketbook 2011 - 3 The electoral process

Updated: 15 June 2011

3.7 Counting the votes (Scrutiny)

Group voting tickets

When a party or group lodges a group voting ticket, a box will be printed above-the-line on the Senate ballot paper. Voters wishing to vote according to the group voting ticket simply put a '1' in that box and their preferences will be allocated according to the group voting ticket of that party or group.

This method permits a voter to follow a party or group's registered ticket without the need to exhaustively copy out numbers in the correct order against each candidate's name (During the 2010 election there were between 9 and 84 Candidates per Senate ballot).

Information showing the order of preferences in the group voting tickets lodged with the AEC is available in the polling place and on the AEC website (ticket voting only applies to the Senate ballot paper).

The following table shows the extent of above-the-line voting at half-Senate elections in 2007 and 2010.

Group voting ticket (GVT) (above-the-line) voting half-senate elections 2007–2010
  2007 2010
  GVT votes % of all formal votes GVT votes % of all formal votes
NSW 4 116 995 98.18 4 059 558 97.76
Vic. 3 117 212 97.95 3 122 603 97.01
Qld 2 352 518 97.26 2 374 789 96.91
WA 1 170 380 97.31 1 196 446 96.94
SA 937 905 93.16 950 000 94.10
Tas. 275 112 84.17 263 944 79.82
ACT 186 570 82.80 174 086 75.93
NT 92 652 92.13 87 665 90.67
Australia 12 249 344 96.78 12 229 091 96.12

Recounts

A recount may be undertaken, approved, or directed at any time before the result of an election is declared. It should not be confused with the routine recheck (fresh scrutiny) of the House of Representatives or of Senate ballot papers during the days following an election.

A candidate, a person qualified to vote at an election, or the AEC may dispute the validity of an election or return by addressing a petition to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. This must occur within 40 days of the return of the writ.

The legislative requirements for such petitions are set out in Part XX II of the Act. Candidates and voters intending to challenge an election are advised to seek their own legal advice.