Changes urgently required to the Senate ballot paper

Given the concerns being expressed about the record number of Senate candidates, the Electoral Reform Society of SA has been asking these candidates about how they are contacting electors and their attitude to the current format of the Senate ballot paper.

Except for the Australian Greens, none of the sitting Senators or their parties have yet responded.  This is not surprising as they obviously like the current procedures that ensured they were elected.

Those candidates (or their parties) who have responded indicate that they are having difficulties getting their message out to voters, and are mainly relying on social media and word-of-mouth, though there has been some paid advertising.  While there is support for more free-to-air time on radio and TV, surprisingly there is not the same level of support for the Australian Electoral Commission forwarding details on all candidates to voters.

Most find the current ballot paper cumbersome, but there is little consensus on how to make improvements. Those that have responded want to keep a choice of voting above or below the line, are not entirely sure about optional preferential voting below the line, or having available sample ballot papers for voters to use before they go to vote.  But there is general support for preferential voting above the line.

[Updated 06/09/2013]

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