The federal election, together with the 2018 state election provides valuable lessons which should be implemented to improve our democratic process.
The 2018 state election was the first election that allowed voters to cast their votes in the pre-poll period without any questions asked nor requiring voters to explain their need to vote early.
Early voting has again proven to be very popular in the current federal election, with nearly 40 per cent of voters exercising this option.
In my view voters appreciate this early voting choice and opportunity.
However, I question the need for a two or three week pre-poll or early voting period.
It's time to actually scrap election day and simply have an election week.
We should have a number of booths open from Monday until Saturday during election week to allow all voters time to vote in a local accessible polling booth.
We do not need weeks of pre-polling. One week would be more than adequate.
Secondly, it's time to introduce optional preferential voting.
This would allow all voters to vote for the candidate of their choice and then distribute their preferences - if they so choose - to other candidates of their choice.
In both the current federal election and the 2018 state election, we have seen a large number of candidates and parties contesting seats which can cause confusion for voters, especially when they are trying to allocate compulsory preferences to many candidates and minor parties that are quite unfamiliar to individual voters.
Also in the hurly-burly of a competitive election campaign there is little or no real focus on the policies and beliefs of these minor parties and candidates leaving voters in the dark about who, and what, they are supporting with their preference distribution.
Optional preferential voting systems are used in NSW state elections and many other democratic systems around the world.
Optional preferential voting gives voters the best of all democratic choices - they can vote for their chosen candidate and then choose whether or not they wish to allocate any of their preferences to any or all of the other candidates.
It is also time to put an end to the secret, dark art of 'preference whispering' which allows parties with miniscule numbers of primary votes to be elected to the Federal Senate and the Legislative Council or Upper House of the Victorian Parliament through complex hidden preference deals and arrangements.
Even worse, the process of electing members of the Federal Senate and the Victorian Legislative Council virtually ensures these minor parties usually hold the balance of power and hence have extraordinary influence and power especially given their very low primary vote.
The best way to fix this problem is to legislate to ensure only those individuals or parties that receive at least 5 per cent of the primary vote are eligible to be elected to the Senate or the Legislative Council.
Parties or individuals who receive less than 5 per cent of the primary vote would have all their preferences fully allocated and counted - no voters would be denied their democratic vote but their preferences would be distributed to candidates they have preferenced and who have at least 5 per cent of the primary vote.
This would ensure that only those candidates with reasonable community support were actually elected to the Federal Senate and the Victorian Legislative Council, preventing secret preference deals circumventing the voters real democratic choice.
Finally, changes must be made to our democratic system so that there are consistent election rules and voting systems in both state and federal elections.
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