30 July 2010
In response to a comment on his How to Vote Guide post, Antony Green explains, quoting the constitution, how the formality of below-the-line senate votes is determined when the voter misnumbers their ballot. The tool on this site doesn’t allow the user to construct a ballot with duplicated or missing numbers. It does, however, allow ballots to be created that do not have all of the candidates preferenced, simply because the user adds their preferences incrementally.
While obviously it is best to number all of the candidates without making any sequence errors, the fact remains that for a below-the-line senate vote to be considered formal, not all of the candidates need to be preferenced. The section of the constitution Antony quoted requires that in elections where there are 9 or fewer candidates (which might be the case in one of the territories) that all but one of the candidates must be preferenced, and that with 10 or more candidates, at least 90% of the candidates must be preferenced. At the 2007 election in Victoria, for example, only 62 of the 68 candidates needed to be preferenced due to this rule.
As requested by @futzle, the tool now indicates whether a ballot is formal, and if not, how many candidates must be preferenced for it to be so.