Research Report 10 - Informal Voting at State and Territory Elections: Conclusion

Updated: 30 May 2013


In the early 1990s, most States and Territory elections had informality rates higher than Federal elections. As Federal election informality increased in the late 1990s, most State informality levels dropped or stayed steady. Western Australia and Tasmania, and to a lesser extent the Northern Territory, have kept pace with Federal informality rates, with the other States and Territories staying below 4%.

States with optional preferential voting in the 1990s (Queensland and New South Wales) had lower levels of informal voting. Ticket voting provisions in South Australia have reduced '1 only' informality within a full preferential system.

A significant indicator for an increase in informal voting seems to be a change to the electoral system. In NSW, WA and the ACT, significant changes to the voting system were followed at the next election by a jump in informality. Excepting any further changes to State or Federal electoral systems, Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT could be expected to maintain low levels of informal voting in the future, while full preferential systems like WA remain close to Federal informality levels.


Electoral Council of Australia, Electoral Systems.

Antony Green, 2003 NSW Election – Final Analysis 6/03$FILE/nswlc2003.pdf

Victorian Electoral Commission, Comparison of Electorates

Electoral Commission of Queensland, Queensland Ballot Paper Survey 2004

Electoral Commission of Queensland, Statistical Returns 2001 & 2004

South Australian State Electoral Office, 2006 Election Results and Outcomes.

South Australian State Electoral Office, Past Election and Referendum Results

Antony Green, Unique Features of South Australian Elections

Western Australian Electoral Commission, 2005 Informal Voting Summary

Western Australian Electoral Commission, Previous Elections

Northern Territory Electoral Commission, Past Election/Referendum Results

Elections ACT, Election Results

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