Michael McCluskey suggests two reforms for a fairer playing field and reduce informal votes

WARRNAMBOOL City Council election candidate Michael McCluskey has suggested two reforms to create a fairer playing field for nominees and to reduce informal and “donkey” votes.

“One (suggestion) is the introduction of the Robson rotation, as used in Tasmania, which involves a rotating system of candidates names on the ballot papers so the donkey vote effect does not negatively impact candidates placed lower on the ballot paper,” he said.

“In the Robson rotation method ballot papers are printed in equal-sized batches, with each batch having a different candidate's name appearing at the prescribed positions on the ballot paper.

Dr McCluskey, a Warrnambool veterinarian, said the donkey vote could be crucial in determining the election outcome for Warrnambool, which has 25 candidates. 

“By using the Robson rotation we can eliminate the impact of this effect and obtain a truer representation of the voters' wishes,” Dr McCluskey said.

The other change he wants implemented is the requirement that voters only have to number their ballot papers equal to the number of available vacancies.

“In Warrnambool's election this would require voters to only number seven candidates as opposed to the 25 they will be required to in this election,” Dr McCluskey said.

“Changing to this system as opposed to being required to number all candidates would significantly reduce the number of informal votes which are more commonly seen when voters have to number all names from a large field of candidates. 

“It also makes it easier for the voter and once again will give a truer reflection of the community's wishes.”

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