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Optimising the How To Vote Process

I previously wrote about my experience handing out How To Vote (HTV) cards at the federal election a couple of weeks ago [1].

One comment noted that at one polling place “all the volunteers for different candidates had combined into a single team, handing out all the cards together“, which makes sense. There is some advantage in forcing cards on people, some people decide who to vote for once they are inside the polling booth based on information on the HTV cards (a couple of voters stated an intention to do so which disappointed the politically aware people who hand out the HTV cards). But for most voters there is no benefit in competing to hand them a HTV card.

Some of the comments expressed a dislike of being subjected to people handing out HTV cards. As a voter I don’t particularly like having a group of conflicting people wanting to hand me a HTV card either. Also it is obviously a waste of resources to hand out so much cardboard that goes to waste (particularly the Liberal and Labor parties that use glossy non-recycled paper).

I think that the ideal solution would be to have the officials at the polling booths hand out HTV cards on request. A voter would have to specifically request the card from a party and the poll officials would not be able to offer them a selection, “sorry I can’t tell you who is running for election, but if you express a desire to vote for a particular party I can give you a card instructing you how to do so“. The parties would be responsible for providing the HTV cards (according to strict specifications regarding the acceptable sizes), and if the supply runs out then the officials would decline requests.

This could even be made self-financing by making the parties who want their cards distributed pay for a fraction of the wages of the people who hand out the cards, if each polling place had one person handing out the HTV cards at a salary of $500 for the day and there were 5 parties cards to hand out then each party would have to pay $100. The reduced print runs for HTV cards would probably save each party more than $100.

Something like this should satisfy the real need of voters who want advice on how to support their preferred party while not annoying the voters who know how to vote without any assistance. I expect that most members of the parties would be in favor of this idea. The only reason we go to the significant amount of effort and expense to hand out the HTV cards is because everyone else is doing so.

1 comment to Optimising the How To Vote Process

  • rdb

    In prior elections, there were normally enough cards in the booth itself, so I refuse cards. I needed to find a card away from the booth to fill in my 60 numbers.