Thursday, 17 November 2011

ABC Antony Green's Selective Analysis of Green's Peferences

Antony Green, ABC Electoral Analyst,  has produced another article on Green preferences in his blog but had failed to address the issue of optional preferential voting and the method of counting the Senate vote 

As a Party the Greens can not direct preferences in the lower house, in the upper-house yes, but only thanks to the above-the-line voting system, below-the-line voting they have no say.,

What is untested and a real potential problem, not just related to the Greens but for all parties including the ALP and the LNP is optional preferential voting. What happens if a party advocates to not preference anyone, and the voter only preferences the candidate/party of their choice without expressing a continuing preference? The system becomes by default a first-past-the-post ballot.

Analysis of the 2010 Victorian State upper-house vote shows that a number of exhausted BTL votes from the party votes does have a significant impact on the election outcome. IN Western Metropolitan for example Bob Smith lost his seat because a significant number of Family First, DLP and Liberal party votes exhausted and did not flow on to other parties, This gave the Greens a hidden advantage in that these votes did not flow on to the ALP as was the case with Ticket ATL votes

The Senate vote and party preferences
The other issue that also is a considerable concern is the method of counting the Senate vote., The System itself disports the outcome of the election and voters intentions.

In Queensland 2007 Larrisa Waters should have been elected to the Senate, the only reason she was not was due to the method of segmentation in the way the votes is counted., a system that was designed to facilitate the manual counting of the vote.
In Victoria 2007 David Feeney could have lost his seat, not because of the voters intention, but due to the method used in calculating the surplus transfer value.

Had Pauline Hanson's One Nation preferenced the Liberal Party, before the ALP and ahead of the Greens, David Feeney would have been defeated, contrary to the voters intentions. The system having delivered an additional value of 7000 votes to the Liberal Party ticket vote which favoured the Greens ahead of the ALP.

The value of the minor parties (The DLP, Family First and One Nation) was devalued and the Liberal party vote increased disproportionally). The system used to count the Senate vote is in need of serious overhaul. We no longer need to take short cuts to facilitate a manual count, short cuts that make the system inaccurate and unfair.

Whilst Antony Green has agreed with the analysis of the Victorian 2007 Senate count he continues to avoid undertaking a review of the 2007 Queensland Senate count.  If you recount the 2007 Queensland vote and exclude all candidates except the last seven candidates remaining in the count and redistribute the preferences accordingly, Larrisa Waters should have been elected ahead of the Labor Party's 3rd Candidate. The reason she was not was due to the method of segmentation in the way the vote is counted.

If you use the the same procedural methods that apply to the lower hose single member preferential count, and on exclusion of a candidate from the count and restart the count afresh the method of segmentation does not distort the outcome of the election result.   A re-iterative counting system is more accurate and with the aid of computer technology should be implemented.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Hansard: Victorian State Parliament Electoral Matter's Committee

Victorian State Parliament - Electoral Matters Committee
Extract from Hansard dated August 23, 2011

The CHAIR — Are you appearing in a private capacity or representing an organisation? If so, which organisation?

Mr van der CRAATS — I am a member of the Proportional Representation Society of Australia and of the Australian Labor Party, but the evidence that I give is of personal opinion.

The CHAIR — I ask you to begin your verbal submission, and we will take it from there.

Mr van der CRAATS — Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this Parliament. I do so with some reluctance, mainly because the last time I gave evidence to this committee I was subjected to what I consider to be harassment, intimidation and vilification by the chief electoral commissioner. It is a matter that I raised before with this committee, or the previous committee, and it failed to respond or to properly act. It is my belief that the actions taken by the chief electoral commissioner constitute contempt of Parliament, and I would like that this committee give further consideration to the complaints that I forwarded to the committee on previous occasions with the view of having the matter properly dealt with by an appropriate authority. I will raise this later in my submission, particularly with respect to item 4 and in relation to the role of the Ombudsman and the electoral commission as it is the Ombudsman that I believe is the appropriate body to review such complaints. However, this committee has a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the parliamentary process, that the committee process is intact and that witnesses are not subjected to some form of harassment or intimidation as a result of evidence given that may be detrimental to or critical of the conduct of the election’s process.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

NSW: Upper House Preference Results Analysis - Meek and Wright Methods

Analysis of the NSW March 2011 State Legislative Council Ballot based on the detailed preference data published blatantly by the NSW Electoral Commission on August 3, 2011 indicated the following candidates are elected. (OpenSTV - Source Data)

| Count after transferring surplus votes. Keep factors of candidates who have exceeded the
| threshold: GALLACHER Mike, 0.081266; GAY Duncan, 0.088605; PEARCE Greg, 0.097127; CLARKE
| David, 0.107637; COLLESS Rick, 0.120694; MacDONALD Scot, 0.137060; CUSACK Catherine, 0.158742;
| MACLAREN-JONES Natasha, 0.188697; PHELPS Peter, 0.232255; BLAIR Niall, 0.302617; JOHNSTON
| Sarah, 0.432234; ROOZENDAAL Eric, 0.163670; DONNELLY Greg, 0.195524; SHARPE Penny, 0.242614;
| PRIMROSE Peter, 0.320513; KELLY Tony, 0.469467; FERGUSON Andrew, 0.870859; SHOEBRIDGE David,
| 0.335056; BARHAM Jan, 0.503748; and BROWN Robert, 0.919975. Candidate GREEN Paul has reached
| the threshold and is elected.

Winners are GALLACHER Mike, GAY Duncan, PEARCE Greg, CLARKE David, COLLESS Rick, MacDONALD Scot,

Likewise we under took analysis of the published data by excluding all but the last 22 candidates (Including Pauline Hanson) simulating the count  using the Wright System.  The results are the same - Detailed OpenSTV sheet sheet results.

To help you understand more how the system and method of counting the vote can and does distort the outcome of the election take a closer look at the 2007 Queensland Senate count.  

In 2007 Green's Candidate, Larissa Waters, was wrongfully denied representation.  The reason she was not elected was due solely to the distortion in the method of segmentation that is used in counting the Senate vote. A fact that Antony Green, ABC Electoral Analyst failed to understand or review. 

More information including count sheets using Meek and Wright methods of counting the vote.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Victoria’s Count Back System of Shame

The City of Melbourne has concluded the count back of the 2008 Municipal Election ballot to determine who will fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Councillor Peter Clarke.

The successful candidate was Jackie Watts (Peter Clarke’s number 2 on his ticket).

Over 6,000 votes that should have been counted were excluded from the count.

Raising further concern about the system of Proportional representation used in Victoria’ municipal elections.
Whilst the result of the count back are not brought into question the method used in the count back is very much questioned..

Under the system adopted there are seven councillors elected to the Council with a quota of just under 1/8 of the total vote. The total vote divided by (the number of vacant positions plus one) minus one. Of which Peter Clarke represents one eighth.

Peter Clarke was not elected on the primary vote and relied on the distribution of preferences from other candidates. Clarke's surplus votes were also distributed on assisting the election of other councillors who were elected later in the count.

Peter Clarke had a primary vote of 5511 votes at full value (1.000)

He received an additional 3205 votes at full value and 18 fractional value votes following the distribution of preferences from excluded candidates and other candidates surpluses. Total value 8734
The quota for election was 7415. Clarke’s surplus of 1319 which was distributed to other candidates, remaining in the count, according to the voters nominated order of preference.
Under the VEC rules the recount only took into consideration the votes that formed Clarke's original quota, they failed to take into consideration other unused residual votes that remained on the table, effectively a full quota of votes was ignored in the recount. Votes which could have determined the outcome of the recount and the candidate who filled the casual vacancy.

By only considering Clarke's original set of ballot papers that were used to elect him the system has double counted some votes and excluded other votes which legitimately should have been counted.

The formula that should have been used should have proportioned Clarkes original set of ballot papers so that they together equal quota (Quota divided candidates total value of votes) times the value of the each vote.

This value should have then been added to any remaining residual value that had not been used at the conclusion of the original count brining the count to its final conclusion. In a full preferential ballot this should equal two quotas minus one. (Taking into consideration and exhausted votes that failed to express a valid preference for any continuing candidate.

All unelected Candidates should have been reactivated and include in the recount and value of the votes outstanding redistributed according to the voters nominated preference until a candidate has reach the original quota value.

This is not the process that the VEC or the legislation applied. They only considered the ballot papers that made up Clarkes original quota votes that when combined with the other residual votes could have produced a different result. But excluding the residual votes from the count these voters have been denied equal representation.

By Way of an theoretical analogy

The ALP number 3 Senate Candidate Jacinta Collins may have been elected on the back of preferences from the DLP who preferenced Jacinta Collins then preferenced Family First or some other candidate ahead of the ALP’s other candidates. The DLP vote when they were excluded from the Count continued on to elect Collins in the original election.

If Collins position subsequently became vacant and count back was used to fill the casual vacancy, under the VEC rules the ALP’s number 4 candidate would be elected but not on merit or on in accordance with the voters chosen candidate. The DLP vote would have been transferred to the Family First Candidate not the ALP and this vote could have resulted in Family First reaching quota before the ALP number 4 candidate. In a fair accurate system Family first’s Steve Fielding should be elected on the count back.

The City of Melbourne count back has highlighted some serious flawed in the system of proportional representation that has been adopted.

Flaws that were introduced by poor legislation drafting and designed to facilitate an outdated manual counting process. With the use of computer based technology it is possible and highly desirable that the system is reviewed and the rules amended to reflect more accurately the voters choice. Our system of Proportional representation and the count back rules, as they currently exist, is not really proportional but semi proportional at best.

If we cannot fix the system so that it accurately reflects the voters choice then we might as well do away with preferential voting which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to count and adopt a similar cheaper party list system as is used in Europe.

If we are going to retain the preferential voting and the associated expense of counting it then it should be accurate.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The thin edge of the wedge. Time to debate Australia's compulsory voting regime

Australia's electoral Commissions have become the new Government Stasi of Australia.

In Victoria in particular the Chief Commissioner, Steve Tully, has embarked on a campaign of invasive politics to force Australians into registering to vote by accessing confidential data records and automatically registering individuals enrolment. Confidential records held by local councils, VicRoads, Residential Tenancy Tribunal, Local Councils, Educational institutions and other non-disclosed sources have been accessed, collated and stored on the VEC central computer database as p;art of Steve Tully's automatic enrollment system.

Public records such as births and deaths, citizenship and municipal rate notices should be the only source of voter registration entitlement.

So invasive is Steve Tully and his quest to force Australians into registration, Steve Tully has gained access to private government and non government data bases, amassing vast information store to force Australians into registering to vote. Your personal information is being collected, stored and processed on the VEC central database, A database that is not protected or secure or subject to independent review or public monitoring.

Even non Citizens are approached and sent letters demanding that they enroll to vote. The systems put in place by the Tullystatcracy are so invasive they are frightening. There is no proper checks and balances to the processes.

The State Ombudsman has no jurisdiction or right of review over the Victorian Electoral Commission activities. The Commission is beyond account.

The State Parliamentary Electoral Matters Committee has failed to address a number of issues of concern in relation to the Commissions administration. What decisions they have made have been ignored by the Chief Commissioner.

Citizens should have equally the right to vote or not to vote. There should be no compulsion in participating in the political process. If electors do not wish to participate in the electoral process then that is their right to do so. The more the electoral commissions seek to impose compulsion and dominance the more people should oppose them. If the electoral commission can not demonstrate it is responsible and accountable then it should be abolished.

We spend 100 of millions of dollars in duplicating electoral resources between the States and the Commonwealth.10;s of millions of dollars spent developing software programs. Software that more often then not is ineffective or lacking in functionality. In 2006 the VEC claimed that the system failed to back up crucial data files used in the valuation of the results of the election. The VEC failed to put in place proper procedures and the software was incapable of readily exporting data. In 2011 the NSW Electoral Commission specially claimed that it's software also can not export the detailed results of the election data. Software costing millions of dollars doing more or less the same as each other commission has developed and already exists with the Australian Electoral Commission. Money that is effectively wasted.

The time has come to seriously review the administrative, structure and operation of our electoral services. We should have a single electoral authority that is subject to public scrutiny and review. one that is less invasive and less compulsive.

The only source of voter registration entitlements should be the Birth, deaths and marriages certification, citizenship and local council rate notices.

No other sources should be used. Only the federal AEC (and Local Councils in terms of rate payers for municipal elections) should be responsible for coalition of the electoral roles.

Voters should have the right to restrict access to the electoral roll in the same way as voters can opt for a silent telephone number.


Now is the time to debate and put an end to the invasive policies, Australia must hold a referendum on the question of compulsory voter registration.

Voters are encouraged to write into the Victorian State Parliament and newspapers demanding an end to compulsory totalitarian electoral practices.

Voters must demand that the Ombudsman have jurisdiction and right of to review complaints made against the Electoral Commission

Submission can be forwarded to

The Chairman
Electoral Matters Committee
Victorian State Parliament

Committee Secretary

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Europe could save 100's of Millions of Dollars adopting preferential voting

European countries including Russia and Ukraine could each save 100's of Millions of Dollars if they adopted a preferential voting system and abandon their two-round presidential voting system.

The two-round system of voting is designed to ensure that the elected candidate has the majority support. It costs 100's of Millions of dollars to conduct a single round of national voting. The second round is money totally wasted. If in a first round of voting no single candidate has an absolute majority of votes (50% or more) a second round of voting is held with between the two highest polling candidates.

It is pretty clear that the choice will between two main candidates. As if the electorate has not already decided who they want to support. Holding two-round of ballots places financial pressure on the political parties and causes significant economic uncertainty as the country is forced into a second round ballot.

The most stupid thing about the two round voting system, apart from the excessive costs involved, is that it is totally unnecessary.

A single alternative is to hold a preferential ballot. One round one vote same result. Voters are asked to rank each candidate in order of preference. If no single candidate has 50% or more votes than the candidate with the least number of votes is excluded and their votes redistributed according to the voters nominated order of preference. The process of exclusion and distribution continues until a single candidate has 50% or more votes.

It's simple, easy to count, and much less costly to run then the two round voting system.

France, Russia and the USA are scheduled to hold their presidential elections in 2012. France and Russia use the two round ballot system. In the USA they only have a single round, first-past-the-post, winner takes all ballot. Under the USA system it is possible that the winning candidate will have less then 40% support.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Britain rejects democratic vote amidst lies and deception

Britain's referendum on voting reform was doomed to failure before it was even announced.

The yes campaign and the Clegg Democrats were played as fools and fools they were. Britain's first referendum on electoral reform was a futile excise of cynicism fueled by lies deception and political corruption.

The victory for the "No camp" was shallow with the turn out being less then 50%. The conservative party stood by and sold out its coalition by running a campaign opposing democratic reform. The Labor Party also sold out its constituency preferring instead to prop up the failed discredited first-past-the-post voting system.

Many of the No camp's lies and deception had been exposed by ABC election analysts Antony Green in his electoral blog, but Antony Green was ignored by the British media and his message of facts lost in a see of misrepresentation. The real loser, apart from democracy itself is the Liberal Democrats and Britain's Deputy Prime-Minister Nick Clegg.

They sided with a coalition partner that took then for a ride knowing that if they lose the referendum the Liberal Democrats will also lose support. If the Liberal Democrats pulled out of the coalition and fresh elections were held then the Conservative party would most likely win support and government in their own right.

The Liberal Democrats having fought and lost the referendum is seen as a lost one issue party. A party that lacks direction, substance and commitment. This also showed up in the results of the British local Council elections.

The yes campaign lacked inspiration and commitment of purpose, They failed tenths and engage the voters. The first and most obvious mistake was allowing the system of voting to be referred to as AV "Alternative Voting" as opposed to using the Australian terminology of Preferential voting "The allocation of preference and the need for majority representation. If a candidate does not secure 50% or more votes and your candidate of choice is unsuccessful then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is excluded and their votes distributed according to the voters next prefereed candidate.

Because of the Liberal Democrats failure to hold their coalition partners to account Britain, like Canada, will not be given a second chance to modernise and democratise it's voting system. Britain, Canada and the USA will remain stuck in the 19th century where candidates are elected with less then 40% of the vote. Voting turn out was below 50% and the two major parties regain dominance at the expense of Britain's democratic rights.

Nick Clegg had only one chance and he blew it. He failed to provide leadership and he failed to inspire the people of Britain to embrace reform.

With the referendum out of the way The conservative Tory party will feel dominate over its coalition party in the full knowledge that they are now in a position to go back to the polls with a deflated and rejected middle of the road opposition party and a labor party that has yet to find its moral ground and support from the voting public.

If the Liberal Democrats do not tow the line they will become the scape goat for the next election. They will lose the balance of power and with it political mussel and influence. Nick is a captive hostage to the Tories and he will be soon seen to be their bitch willing to do anything to remain in office.  A part deviod of principle and strategy.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Keating's reflections on NSW Labor

ALP steward Paul Keating reflects on the NSW State election and the failing of the State Party's head office

Source: ABC