Don't just vote 1! Use your preferences in the upper house!

Don’t just vote 1! Use your preferences in the upper house!

A lot of people are confused about how preferences work in the NSW upper house. Many people believe that they can put a simple ‘1’ above the line and the party or group that they vote for will transfer that vote along for them. Preferences don’t work that way any more.

Automatic preference transfers were last in operation in 1999 in NSW. And in 2016, the federal election law changed to remove automatic preference transfers (also known as ‘group tickets’). You need to show your preferences about the line in the upper house ballot for both NSW state and federal upper house elections.

If you put only a ‘1’ above the line in the upper house ballot, your preferences will be numbered down the group you have selected, and then expire.

Imagine the following scenario: you like bananas, so you vote for the Banana Party. If you place a ‘1’ above the line, and they don’t get enough votes to get elected, your vote expires, and is wasted. It is not transferred to any other party unless you indicate your preferences above the line.

This effect also applies when voting for bigger parties. Imagine a person who likes Greens/Labor combos getting elected. If a person votes ‘1’ Greens, and two Greens get elected, but there are enough votes for 2.5 people to get elected, the people who only vote ‘1’ for Greens without preferences helps those 2 Greens getting elected, but wastes 0.5 / 2.5 = 25% of their voting power that could help elect a Labor Party representative.

While you’re here, consider giving a vote to Group S - the James Jansson Team for NSW. We want to invest more into infrastructure, protect the environment, build better communities and stop the pokies.

You can view our policies here:


James Jansson

is part of the James Jansson Team for NSW Legislative Council (state upper house).