The Australian Electoral Commission says we have “a choice of two methods” when voting for Senators on Saturday. We can either vote “above the line'” by putting the number ‘1’ in one box only. That gives the group we are voting for the right to allocate our preferences. It says “the rest of the ballot paper must be left blank.” Or we can vote “below the line” by putting the number ‘1’ in the box of our first choice, then number ‘2’ and so on until all the boxes have been numbered. “If a voter chooses to vote below the line, they must number every box below the line for their vote to count,” the website says. “The top part of the ballot paper must be left blank.” If true, it could leave some of us unable fully exercise our democratic rights.
… There is a way to both attempt to make every preference count and to ensure at least something counts. It is to vote both above and below the line.
The Electoral Commission has failed its duty to promote it (perhaps because it is technically illegal) and as a result may be contributing to the number of spoiled votes. It agrees such votes will be counted.
Politifact rates its statement that when voting either above or below the line, “the rest of the ballot paper must be left blank” only half true. It is the law. But there are no penalties, voting is private, and if you do fill in both you will be sure to have your vote counted.
Full Article: Is there a choice of two methods when voting for Senators?.