Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Australian Voting System

Recently, Queensland had a State election where a number of seats became marginal with some having under 100 votes separating 1st and 2nd place. What I want to ponder today is the voting system and your confidence in it.

Does our voting system in its current form lend itself to being abused? Answer these questions and perhaps you will have your answer:
  1. Can people vote in every booth in their electorate without being caught on the day?
  2. Can people vote absentee as well as locally without being caught on the day?
  3. When these people are caught (well after the election), how do you correct it?
  4. Are people required to show ID routinely when they vote? Is it possible for me to vote for my dead grandmother?
  5. Are returning officers currently audited to ensure they send out ballots in a timely manner?
  6. When more than say 10 voters live at one address, is this ever investigated?

With some seats being so close, I have to say, it does make you think. Some people may think, what difference will it make? The government won by many seats but I assure you that to that candidate who may have lost, it makes one hell of a difference. I've had a brother that ran (and lost) for parliament more than 20 years ago, and I remember very well the hard work and personal cost that he put into the exercise. The long service leave that he sacrificed, the many fund-raisers, the early mornings on info booths, the late nights, the door knocking, the many compliments, the abuse, letters, phone calls, pamphlet drops, etc, etc, etc. To have any taste of fraud thrown in would have been devastaing I assure you. A good loss, one can accept, a fraudalent loss, no way.

Currently, the Qld seat of Chatsworth is under investigation. With only 74 votes the difference, my confidence in that seat is a little shaky I have to admit. But then, given the above information I gave you in the opening questions, my confidence in any Queensland seat with a less than 500 vote margin is a little shaky right now.

Does the seat of Chtasworth provide a perfect opportunity for Queensland to trial a new electronic voting system? What do you think of the current system? What do you know of the Chatsworth situation? Do you live in the area? Are you suspicious of the result which changed quite dramatically from Andrea Caltabiano to Steve Kilburn, the declared winner?

Would love to hear your views.

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