New South Wales Consolidated Regulations

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT (GENERAL) REGULATION 2005 - SCHEDULE 4

SCHEDULE 4 – Counting of votes under optional preferential system

(Clause 351)

1 General

This Schedule sets out the method of counting votes according to the optional preferential system. The counting is to be carried out under the supervision of the returning officer.

2 Definitions

In this Schedule:

"absolute majority of votes" means a greater number than one-half of the whole number of ballot-papers other than informal and exhausted ballot-papers.

"continuing candidate" means a candidate not already elected or excluded from the count.

"exhausted ballot-paper" means a ballot-paper on which there is no indication of a next preference for a continuing candidate.

"next preference" means the first of the subsequent preferences marked on a ballot-paper that is not given to an elected or excluded candidate. However, if there is a repetition or omission in the consecutive numbering of preferences marked on a ballot-paper (other than a repetition or omission that makes the ballot-paper informal), only those preferences preceding the repetition or omission can be taken into account.

"unrejected ballot-papers" means all ballot-papers not rejected as informal.

3 One candidate to be elected

If only one candidate is to be elected, the votes are to be counted and the result of the election ascertained in accordance with the following procedures:

(a) the unrejected ballot-papers are arranged under the names of the respective candidates by placing in a separate parcel all those on which a first preference is indicated for the same candidate,
(b) the total number of first preferences given for each candidate on such ballot-papers are then counted,
(c) the candidate who has received the largest number of first preference votes is elected if that number constitutes an absolute majority of votes,
(d) if no candidate has received an absolute majority of first preference votes, a second count is made,
(e) on the second count the candidate who has received the fewest first preference votes is excluded, and each unexhausted ballot-paper counted to him or her is counted to the candidate next in the order of the voter's preference,
(f) if a candidate then has an absolute majority of votes, he or she is elected, but if no candidate then has an absolute majority of votes, the process of excluding the candidate who has the fewest votes and counting each of his or her unexhausted ballot-papers to the continuing candidate next in the order of the voter's preference is repeated until one candidate has received an absolute majority of votes,
(g) the candidate who has received an absolute majority of votes is elected.

4 Two candidates to be elected

If 2 candidates are to be elected, the votes are to be counted and the result of the election ascertained in accordance with the following procedures:

(a) one of the candidates is elected in accordance with clause 3 of this Schedule,
(b) all the unrejected ballot-papers are rearranged under the names of the respective candidates in accordance with the first preferences marked on the ballot-papers, except that each ballot-paper on which a first preference for the elected candidate is indicated is placed in the parcel of the candidate next in the order of the voter's preference,
(c) the number of ballot-papers in the parcel of each candidate is counted and the total number of votes so counted to each candidate is ascertained,
(d) if a candidate then has an absolute majority of votes he or she is elected. If not, the count proceeds according to clause 3 (d), (e) and (f) of this Schedule, until one candidate has received an absolute majority of votes,
(e) clause 3 (d) and (e) of this Schedule is to be read for the purposes of this clause as if a reference in those paragraphs to first preference votes were a reference to all the votes counted to a candidate under this clause,
(f) the candidate who has received an absolute majority of votes is elected.

5 Exhausted ballot-papers

In the process of counting under clause 3 or 4 of this Schedule, exhausted ballot-papers are set aside as finally dealt with and are not taken into account in the election of a candidate under the appropriate clause.

6 Equality

(1) If, on any count at which the candidate with the fewest number of votes has to be excluded, 2 or more candidates have an equal number of votes (that number being fewer than the number of votes that any other candidate has or those candidates being the only continuing candidates):
(a) the candidate who had the fewest votes at the last count before the equality occurred is excluded, or
(b) if they had an equal number of votes at all preceding counts, the candidate whose name is on a slip drawn in accordance with subclause (2) is excluded.
(2) For the purposes of subclause (1) (b) the returning officer writes the names of the candidates who have an equal number of votes on similar slips of paper. The returning officer then folds the slips so as to prevent the names being seen, mixes them, and draws one slip at random.

7 End of counting

The process of counting each of the unexhausted ballot-papers of an excluded candidate to the continuing candidate next in the order of the voter's preference is not repeated if there is only one continuing candidate. Instead, that continuing candidate is elected.



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