While it is not possible to describe all of the types of informal votes that could be encountered by AEC divisional office staff completing the survey, informal ballots were allocated to the following categories using the explanations and coding notes as a guide.
These ballot papers are TOTALLY BLANK, and have no other significant deliberate marks or scribble on them. Ballots which might have some small marks (e.g. a dot in one square), but are otherwise blank would also be included in this category (i.e. where it can reasonably be assumed that the intent of the voter was to submit a blank ballot).
Ballot papers that have no numbers or other marks recorded within the squares, but have scribble, slogans or other protest vote marks (e.g. illustrations, candidate names crossed out) elsewhere on the ballot paper are to be placed in Category F.
Ballot papers within Category B are sequentially numbered from number '1' onwards, but have two or more squares left blank.
If the ballot paper is sequentially numbered from '1' onwards, contains two or more blank squares, and includes any other marks or slogans (including voter identification), the paper will remain in Category B (and the relevant subcategory).
Subcategories within Category B are used to specify the number of squares completed on the ballot paper. Since the maximum number of candidates recorded for a division in the 2010 House of Representatives election was 11, there may be up to nine subcategories (B–1 to B–9) applying within any one division. For example, divisions with 11 candidates may use all subcategories B–1 to B–9, while divisions with 7 candidates will only use subcategories B–1 to B–5 and divisions with 4 candidates will use subcategories B–1 and B–2 only. Ballots placed in subcategory B–1 are also classified into J subcategories (for the 2010 House of Representatives election, subcategories J–1 to J–11).
For ballot papers in Category C, the voter has used a tick or cross instead of the number '1'.
Category C includes ballots where the voter has:
Ballot papers in Category D contain symbols other than numbers, e.g. alphabetic characters, zeros (0), or Yes/No indicators (note that numbers may also appear on these ballots). If alphabetic characters have been used, the series must be incomplete or non-sequential as a complete alphabetic sequence on a ballot (e.g. A, B, C, D, E) on a ballot paper would be a formal vote
Ballot papers within Category E (and its subcategories E–1 to E–6) have the numerical sequence recorded on them broken by missing numbers or repeated numbers (including ballots with more than one number '1').
If the voter has apparently deliberately numbered all or most squares with just one number (e.g. '1' or '9'), treat the ballot as a deliberately informal vote and place it in Category F (if in doubt, leave it in Category E).
The table below describes each of the subcategories within Category E, and provides examples of informal ballots (assuming six candidates on a ballot paper) that would be classified to each subcategory.
|E–1: These ballot papers contain repeated numbers (though not a repeated '1') within a numerical sequence (i.e. no missing numbers), and have all squares completed. Subcategory E–1 includes 'Langer style' votes.||5, 4, 1, 2, 3, 3
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5
3, 3, 3, 1, 2, 3
|E–2: These ballots contain repeated numbers (though not a repeated '1') within a numerical sequence (i.e. no missing numbers) but do not have all squares completed||1, 2, 3, 4, 4, blank (but not 1, 2, 3, 4, blank, blank – a category B–4 ballot)
Blank, 1, 3, 2, 2, blank
|E–3: These ballots contain a repeated number '1', irrespective of any other missing or repeated numbers or whether or not all squares have been completed.||1, 3, 2, 4, 1, 5
1, 2, 1, 2, 1,
1, 2, 3, 1, 4, blank
1, 2, 3, 99, 1, 3
|E–4: These ballots are missing a number '1' from within their numerical sequence. They may also contain other missing or repeated numbers and contain no other missing numbers or repeated numbers and have all squares completed.||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
3, 7, 6, 4, 5, 2
|E–5: These ballots have one or more numbers missing from within a numerical sequence (but where the number '1' is not missing), with no repeated numbers and all squares completed.||1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
3, 2, 1, 97, 98, 99
1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9
|E–6: This subcategory includes all other ballots with non-sequential numbering (other than those included within categories E-1 to E-5).||2, 2, 3, 4, 99, blank (incomplete ballot with repeated numbers and missing number '1')
1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 99 (repeated and missing numbers, number '1' not repeated)
In essence, Category F can be thought of as 'frivolous' voting. It includes all ballot papers (other than those totally blank ballots in Category A) where the voter has apparently been very deliberate in casting an informal vote.
Category F includes ballot papers where:
The table below describes each of the subcategories within Category F, and provides examples of informal ballots (assuming six candidates on a ballot paper) that would classified to each subcategory.
|F–1: These ballots contain scribbles/slogans and squares have either not been marked, or have been crossed through||No squares completed, but a statement or slogan (e.g. 'No Dams' or 'Vote 1 – Mickey Mouse') has been written on the ballot paper
All squares crossed out and vulgarity written across ballot paper
|F–2: These ballot papers contain instances where candidate names have been changed (note, if a ballot shows characteristics of both F–1 and F–2, place it in subcategory F–2).||Candidate names have been crossed out (regardless of whether or how squares have been completed)
The voter has crossed out the name of one candidate and written in the name of another candidate
The voter has added a candidate name to the ballot paper
|F–3: This subcategory includes all other instances of 'frivolous voting'||All or most squares on the ballot paper have the same number (e.g. '0', '1', '9', or '99')
All squares on the ballot paper have been crossed out
A large diagonal line drawn across the ballot to cross out all candidates
Ballot papers included in Category G (and its subcategories G–1 to G–3 are those where the numbering on the ballot is illegible.
Ballot papers in Category H are informal solely because the voter could be identified.
Category I includes informal ballot papers that do not fit within any of the other informality categories. Every attempt should be made to classify an informal ballot paper to another category before placing it within Category I.
Examples of ballot papers that would be placed in Category I include:
These ballots will all have a number '1' in one of the squares, with all other squares left blank.
Subcategories J–1 to J–11 show the number of number '1' only ballots according to the candidate position the number '1' was written against.
The number of 'J' subcategories applicable within a division will equal the number of candidates for the House of Representatives within that division, with a maximum of 11 subcategories therefore applicable for the 2010 federal election (e.g. divisions with 11 candidates would potentially use all subcategories J–1 to J–11, while divisions with 7 candidates would only potentially use subcategories J–1 to J–7).
Examples of ballot papers that would be placed in J subcategories include:
If there is more than one number '1' on the ballot paper, place it in Category E.
If ALL squares on the ballot paper are marked with a number '1', treat the ballot as a deliberately informal vote and place it in Category F.