Understanding and Addressing Informal Voting in Australia

Professor Lisa Hill (University of Adelaide, Stretton Institute) will be presenting at a webinar co-hosted by the Stretton Institute and the Electoral Regulation Research Network on Wednesday 17 November.

This webinar unpacks the aims and approach of our current ARC Linkage Grant entitled: 'Understanding and Addressing Informal Voting in Australia, Industry Partner, Victorian Electoral Commission (CI's L. Hill, R. Praino, W. Gately and P. Thornton -Smith). 
Designed to ultimately reduce relatively high rates of informal voting, this project represents the most ambitious study of informal voting ever undertaken anywhere. In it, we combine experimental data, aggregate level data and individual level data to provide a multi-dimensional understanding of the full implications and effects of both intentional and unintentional informality.  
Our aims are, not only to advance our understanding of the patterns, underlying correlates and sources of informal voting at both state and local elections in Victoria, but in light of this understanding, to develop test solutions for arresting informal voting.   

The project will conduct 4 discrete studies over a 4 year period but this presentation focuses on Study 4 whereby we seek to determine whether such factors as: a relaxation of the legal threshold for formality; reducing levels of stress at polling places; and devising alternative options for intentional informal voting would reduce informal voting in Victoria. Using a quasi-natural experiment that involves a detailed analysis of every informal vote cast, and drawing on findings from other aspects of the project, Study 4 encompasses 2 election periods: the 2020 and 2024 local council elections. 

Warwick Gately, Electoral Commissioner, Victorian Electoral Commission
Professor Lisa Hill, University of Adelaide
Associate Professor Rodrigo Praino, Flinders University
Paul Thornton-Smith, Victorian Electoral Commission


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