Majority of Informal Votes Coming From Young People

Remember when you were a kid and donkey votes seemed pretty funny? Like legit all the time. John Howard was running a stable and consistent government, so you could argue informal votes probably had less influence than they do today.

You don’t need me to tell you where we’re at with the Government situation (mainly because I don’t even know anyways), but with each passing day it seems the 2016 Federal Election will go down as one which could have been heavily swayed if informal votes were counted.

The thing that probably frustrates me the most if the fact a lot of people are giving up their vote to be an overnight hero. Adding Snow, Jon or Trump, Donald to their voting slip to gain a few cheeky likes to satisfy their ego’s calling. The amount of Hilary, Obama and Trump pictures I’ve seen in addition just shows in itself that our infatuation with everything American at times outweighs our own political views.

To put this all into some perspective, we’re currently at a count of (roughly) 70 seats to the Liberal/Nationals Coalition, 67 to Labor, 5 to minor parties. That’s about as tight as it gets.

We have about eight electorates still being counted, and most are way to freaking close to call. Ranging from about 100 votes difference to 400, which is absolutely nothing as you can see below.


Let’s take the ridiculously tight Chilsolm seat as an example. Liberal candidate Julia Banks is ahead by 362 votes from Labor candidate Stefanie Perri. With just over 70% of the count being completed, there has already been over 2,000 informal votes in the electorate. 2,000 informal votes. Barely 300 votes in difference. Let that just sink in for a bit.

Now I will admit one thing. The voting forms just seem to become a little more strenuous each year. And technically even if you have the right intention to vote, but fill out the form wrong – it will count as an ‘informal’ vote. The changes to the Senate voting form this year probably contributed to that, too. But with the amount of intentional donkey votes doing the rounds online, it’s concerning.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Professor Lisa Hill from the University of Adelaide told ABC’s Hack that there was a “disturbing rise in intentional informal voting” during this election, in a soon to be released paper.

And have a guess which group is contributing the most to this. Is it even a guess, really? 18-24s take the cake, and Hill says that the more young people in that age range in an electorate, the higher percentage of donkey votes.

Recent surveys you’ve probably seen, and likely agree with, suggest politicians are out of touch with youngsters. That their key policies don’t align with some of our most important views.

But we have to look at it from their point of view. At the end of the day politicians are trying to win seats in different electorates, and if they see a lot of younger people are throwing away their votes, are they really going to try and win us back? You’d hope so, but you could get why they might not.

The more engaged us as a wider younger community use our votes, the more notice our politicians take. Yeah, you might not super agree with any one party – but so do thousands, millions of others in the country. If we want the decision makers to listen, we have to be just as active.

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