Robson Rotation

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Robson Rotation is the method of having ballot papers in single transferable vote elections with candidates listed in different orders.

Ordinarily all ballot papers in an election are printed with the candidates' names in the same order, which can be random, determined by lot, or in alphabetical order: if two or more candidates consent to be grouped as a team, the grouping or party may specify the order of their names. This can give an advantage to the candidates listed highest on the paper, because they will attract a 'donkey vote'. Donkey voters are common in systems with compulsory voting where voters turn up to vote on election date to avoid a fine and number their ballot papers in the order of candidates on the ballot paper.

Using this method the number of possible permutations of candidates' names that appear on the ballot papers eliminates that bias, since the ballot papers are printed in equal-sized batches, with each batch having a different candidate's name appearing at prescribed positions in the party columns on those ballot papers. It was introduced in Tasmania by Neil Robson, Liberal MHA for Bass,[1][2] and first used in the Denison state by-election, 1980.

It was adopted in the Australian Capital Territory in 1995.[3]

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