About this record
‘How to vote’ cards are produced by each Australian political party. These cards are handed out on polling day by volunteers and members of the political parties as voters arrive at a polling station. The ‘How to vote’ cards are designed to help voters to complete their ballot paper correctly (for their preferred party) and to ensure their vote counts.
These examples of ‘how to vote’ cards relate to the 1967 referendum and are located within a file of the Chief Electoral Office titled ‘1967 Referendum: Constitution Alteration, Enquiries and Complaints’.
- Polling places are established in all House of Representatives electorates across the country. Voting is compulsory in Australia, so all Australians over the age of 18 and registered to vote are required to attend a polling station on the day to lodge their vote. To make it easier for most people to attend on polling day, polling day is always a Saturday.
- When you arrive at a polling station on election (or referendum) day, representatives and volunteers for all the different political parties will greet you at the entrance and present you with cards to show you how to vote if you want to follow a particular party’s policy positions.
- An important feature of the Australian electoral system is preference voting—voting for other political parties as ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and so on). Your choice of preferences can help your preferred party to gain a majority and form a government. It is very important to be careful how you enter your preferential votes—the ‘how to vote’ cards are developed by each party to help you allocate your preferences without making a mistake.
- In the case of the 1967 referendum, the ‘How to vote’ cards were very simple as there were two questions being presented and you only had to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to each one. However, other wording on the cards can be designed to influence your vote.
- These ‘How to vote’ cards were collected by a voter and sent to the Chief Electoral Office. Read his letter and see why he was concerned about these particular ‘How to vote’ cards. How do some of the cards try to influence the voter’s choice?
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