Election Staff to Complete Incomplete Ballots

It's April Fools Day but sadly the new proposal for election staff to complete incomplete ballots is not a joke.

"The move could have a major impact on Queensland contests, due to the state's high informal vote rate.

The chairman of the parliamentary committee examining last year's high number of informal votes, federal Labor MP Daryl Melham, wants to introduce a "safety net" to halve the number of votes deemed informal in federal elections.

The unquestioned premise here is - why is a high number of informal votes a bad thing? Unfortunately there is no way to officially determine the number of protest votes versus those who simply cannot fill out a ballot form properly.

The 'solution' to this new problem is a result of the states previous desire to make voting compulsory for the apparent reason that voting numbers were getting too low. [1]

Generally the only people who should consider this as a direct problem are the politicians themselves. The reason being their legitimacy is so strongly questioned when hardly any of the populace vote for them, even more so when the populace seems to reject the whole circus act and refuses to endorse any candidates.

Working within the quagmire that is modern democracy, a better solution - for the citizenry at least - may be a "none of the above" option on the ballot. This would seperate the protest votes from those who are unable to fill out the ballot form. The publication and formal counting of the 'none of the above' votes would also be fairly instructive as a guage for the percentage of the population who have an inclination towards freedom.

Curiously the fact which strikes at the core of those who support democracy is often unaddressed - what kind of calibre and level of decision making are you going to get from an individual who cannot fill out a ballot form properly, but is then expected to then rationally decide who would be the next best "leader" (aka ruler)?

[1] Evans, T. (2006). Compulsory Voting in Australia. Elections Systems & Policy, Australian Electoral Commission, pg 5. Retrieved from http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/voting/files/compulsory-voting.pdf

The significant impetus for compulsory voting at federal elections appears to have been a decline in turnout from more than 71% at the 1919 election to less than 60% at the 1922 election. The Bruce-Page government (a conservative coalition of the Nationalist and Country parties) was reluctant to be too closely identified to such a proposal.