Optional preferential voting

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Optional preferential voting (OPV) is a type of preferential voting system under which voters may choose to mark a preference for one candidate (effectively voting as though it were a first-past-the-post election), all candidates or any number of candidates in between. Although complete numbering is not required under the OPV system (effectively full-preferential voting, also known as Instant-runoff voting (IRV)), single-preference voters may be required to use a '1' rather than a tick or cross. Some jurisdictions allow ticks or crosses as the voter's intention is clear.

OPV is used in elections in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, Australia.[1][2] It was used in Queensland from 1992[3] to 2015.[4]

In both the Tasmanian House of Assembly and the Tasmanian Legislative Council, semi-optional voting is used, with a minimum number of preferences required to be expressed; but there is no requirement to complete the entire ballot paper. All other Australian lower house elections are use full-preferential voting, where a preference for every candidate must be indicated for the vote to be counted.

In the Victorian Legislative Council, semi-optional voting is used if a voter chooses to vote below the line.

The Australian Senate voting reform of 2016 switched from full-preferential voting to semi-optional. A minimum number is specified in the instructions on the ballot paper. Since in the past a single number '1' above the line was formal, that is still a valid vote even though voters are encouraged to number six squares.

In other countries, such as Malta, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, full preferences are not required.

The "ranked-choice voting" system used by Maine, USA, can be considered optional-preferential as voters are allowed to rank just one candidate. The system also allows voters to "skip" one ranking (e.g. marking a first choice and a third choice, but not a second choice). In that case, the next ranking would be advanced to the next highest ranking.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Optional Preferential: Elections NSW
  2. ^ Northern Territory Adopts Optional Preferential Voting and Bans Campaigning Near Polling Places: Antony Green ABC 11 February 2016
  3. ^ "The Queensland Electoral System". Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  4. ^ Burke, Gail (22 April 2016). "Compulsory preferential voting returns to Queensland as Parliament passes bill for more MPs". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 December 2017.