The ballot paper
A ballot paper for a Senate election has two parts, each reflecting particular methods of registering a vote. Electors may select one or other method.
Where groups of candidates or individual incumbent senators have registered group or individual voting tickets, a series of boxes is printed on the top part of the Senate ballot paper above the candidates’ names. If the voter wishes to adopt the registered preference ordering of one of these tickets, a number 1 is placed in the box for the chosen group or incumbent senator and the rest of the ballot paper is left blank. (For the constitutional validity of this method of voting, see Abbotto v Commonwealth Electoral Commission 1997 144 ALR 352; Ditchburn v Australian Electoral Officer for Queensland 1999 165 ALR 147.)
Alternatively, where the voter wishes to indicate preferences among all Senate candidates on the bottom part of the ballot paper, the voter must place a number 1 in the square opposite the name of the candidate most preferred, and give preference votes for all the remaining candidates by placing the numbers 2, 3, 4 (and so on, as the case requires) in the squares opposite their names so as to indicate an order of preference for them. The top part of the ballot paper is left blank.
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