Donkey votes could have won the election

MORE than 56,000 people deliberately chose not to mark their ballot papers correctly at this year's state election.

That number could be the population of an electorate.

And with the count coming down to just 200 votes between two candidates in some seats, Griffith University political lecturer Dr Tracey Arklay said these informal votes could have made all the difference.

Dr Arklay said there were 10,000 more informal votes this year than in 2009.

While she said the number of people voting informally was increasing, Queensland University of Technology political science lecturer John Mickel said this year's figure was not out of the ordinary.

He said informal votes usually represented about 1-2% of voters. In this case, 2.1% voted informally.

But both academics agreed informal voting was almost always deliberate. With optional preferential voting, all the public had to do was place a "1" next to the candidate of their choice.

Dr Arklay said even people who placed a "1" in a box but then labelled the rest of the boxes with all "2s" or ticks, for example, it still counted as a vote.

This election Dr Arklay said 19,000 young people aged 18-24 rushed to register to vote because they were keen to have their say.

Considering this, an easy voting system but an increase in informal votes, she said there was obviously a "hell of a lot" of angry people out there.

"And they're not opting for minor parties or independents," she said. "So they're saying they don't like politics. That's a real worry for democracy."


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