VIC 2014 – election day

14

Booths have just opened in Victoria for today’s state election.

I’ll be back tonight at 6pm with full coverage of the results, and in the meantime you can post your comments in this open thread.

I appeared on Radio National’s Drive program with Waleed Aly on Thursday evening to discuss the Victorian state election. You can listen to the audio here.

11:29am update – I’m hearing reports of the Greens issuing open tickets in a bunch of seats. If you have a photo of the Greens how-to-vote in your seat, can you email it to me at ben[at]tallyroom.com.au or post the image in the comments below? I’m interested in the how-to-vote even if they are preferencing Labor.

5:11pm update – According to Kevin Bonham, in the following seats the Greens have decided to issue ‘open tickets’. Seats with an asterisk are considered to be marginal.

Bellarine*, Benambra, Bentleigh*, Box Hill, Buninyong*, Carrum*, Caulfield, Forest Hill*, Keysborough, Mitcham, Mordialloc*, Monbulk*, Narre Warren North, Oakleigh, Ringwood*, Rowville, South Barwon*, Wendouree*, Yan Yean*.

I’m also aware of the Greens giving an open ticket in Ferntree Gully, and don’t really have a good sense of how many other seats could also be using open tickets. The only seats where I have confirmed that the Greens are preferencing Labor are in Frankston, Prahran, Melbourne and Eltham.

It isn’t a new thing for the Greens to issue ‘open tickets’ in compulsory-preferential election. The Victorian Greens offered a deal to Labor to swap preferences across the state, which was loudly rejected by Labor leader Daniel Andrews.

As I understand the Victorian Greens constitution, the state party has the power to decide preferences, but the convention is that local branches are given autonomy when no agreement is reached – unsurprisingly, a bunch of local Greens branches chose to not direct preferences.

It isn’t strange that different branches would make different decisions (and that they may be influenced by the anti-Greens rhetoric from Labor), and it isn’t the first time that some local Greens branches in Victoria chose not to direct preferences. In practice, most Greens voters preference Labor, and an open ticket only has a subtle effect which would only matter in an extremely tight race.

While the decision in itself is not a huge shock, it is unusual how the Victorian Greens chose to hide their preferencing decisions. If you visit the Victorian Greens website, you a directed to a statewide how-to-vote which shows preferences in all 88 seats. The Greens also appear to have used how-to-votes giving preferences to Labor at pre-poll booths right up until yesterday.

When Victorian Labor kicked up a fuss about the Liberal Party and the Greens both registering open-ticket how-to-votes on the same day (despite the narrow registration window making that almost inevitable) the Victorian Greens director was quoted as follows:

Ms Brown said the Greens always registered open and preference how to vote cards, with local branches then able to choose.

But she also said if there were open tickets it would be in very few seats.

“The inner city seats will not be running open tickets,” Ms Brown said.

Considering that at least twenty seats are using open tickets, including a large number of key marginals, that statement seems to be at the very least misleading. Those quotes were given at least six days ago – by which point it would have been necessary for the Greens to have decided on all of their preferences for election day. So did the Greens know they were issuing open tickets in key marginals while implying otherwise in the media?

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Prediction time! I’m going to be fairly cautious here:

    Labor to “gain” the four notional Liberal seats with Labor MPs – Bellarine, Monbulk, Wendouree, Yan Yean – and sweep the sand belt – Bentleigh, Carrum, Franklin, Mordialloc. Labor will also retain all its inner city seats.

    Liberal to “retain” Ripon.

    That makes a parliament of ALP 48 Lib 40.

  2. I’m tipping Labor to win 45-43 – an identical reversal from 2010.
    Labor will retake its notionally lost seats of Yan Yean and Monbulk and Bellarine, win the new Liberal seat of Wendouree, win the Liberal seats of Carrum and Bentleigh and Mordialloc, and win Frankston from Shaw.
    On the other hand, Labor will lose Eltham and Ivanhoe and Macedon. The notionally lost Labor seat of Ripon will also go to the Coalition.

  3. You spoke well Ben.

    Labor to sweep Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Frankston and Carrum – with Carrum being the closest.

    Labor to win back all notional Lib seats with a Labor member, except Ripon.

    Despite concerns, Labor to comfortably win Eltham, Ivanhoe and Macedoni.

    Labor to hold all existing seats except Melbourne, which the Greens pick up.

    Labor to surprise with wins in Forest Hill and Prahran.

    Napthine to retire from SW Coast in early 2015.

    Total: ALP 49, Coal 38, Green 1

  4. For me Melbourne is probably the most interesting seat to watch.

    On the one hand the Greens seem condident and are spending a lot. On the other the seat has had a swing against Labor’s primary vote at the last two elections (even when the Liberals werent running). With the Liberals back in and a swing from them to Labor state wide (along with most of their preferences) even if the Greens increase their primary vote they might end up worse on two party preffered. Two close to call is a cop out, but its the best I can do.

  5. Kevin bonham provides this list:

    Open Greens Ticket Reported:
    Bellarine*, Benambra, Bentleigh*, Box Hill, Buninyong*, Carrum*, Caulfield, Forest Hill*, Keysborough, Mitcham, Mordialloc*, Monbulk*, Narre Warren North, Oakleigh, Ringwood*, Rowville, South Barwon*, Wendouree*, Yan Yean*

    * being marginal seats

  6. Mark Mulcair
    What do the Greens get for making open ticket ??. Will it make any difference??. Are the Greens starting to act like politicians !!??.

  7. I’ve been handing out in Caulfield for Labor. I watched the Greens people handing out their open ticket, and it clearly confused a lot of their voters, especially the first-timers. I expect a lot of people will put a 1 in the Green box and then “exhaust,” which in Victoria of course is an informal vote. This will cost the Greens, but more importantly it will also cost Labor those preferences. The Greens in their selfish narcissism could yet hand this election to the Libs.

  8. @Adam I’ve seen this issue of confusion flowing from the Greens issuing open tickets in the past, and I wasn’t able to find any clear statistical trend indicating a higher informal rate where this was happening. Booth volunteers seem to always report voter confusion about HTVs to an extent that isn’t borne out by informal rates, and the best explanation I can come up with is this: I don’t know what happens in Victoria, but at federal elections, when a voter is handed their ballot papers the polling official advises them to number every box on the House of Reps ballot paper from 1 to whatever. Whilst we witness confusion outside the booth, it’s quite possible that the simple instructions from polling officials which voters then receive once they get inside actually resolves a lot of this confusion.

    It’s worth remembering high profile independents also issue open tickets quite often and don’t seem to suffer major difficulties from it.

  9. And what a surprise he was.

    Seriously at the last minute a whole range of commentators get nervous about things being close. Elsewhere I read that we wouldnt know who won for days (as opposed to at about 8pm). Yet we have as expected a convincing win for Labor and a decent swing to the Greens. The polls are again accurate.

  10. Not much seems to be getting made of the large early vote. With up to a third of votes cast early it seems premature to call the close contests. Most likely the overall result won’t change but several electorates could end up changing. Given that early voting is a trend it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Is there an argument to start counting prepoll on election night?

  11. Adam Carr – lots of foreign voters in Caulfield who are used to placing a 1 only in the box in the old country – funny.

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