LIBERAL candidate Chris Crewther struck it lucky yesterday by securing the number one position on the ballot paper, in a 12-way contest for the vacant seat of Mallee in September’s Federal election.
The Liberal Party, which is attempting to break the Nationals’ 64-year hegemony in the safest conservative seat in Australia, will be quietly celebrating its stroke of blind luck in yesterday’s draw at the Mallee Divisional Office of the Australian Electoral Commission in Hazelgrove House in Ninth Street.
In a tight contest, top position on the ballot paper can make the difference between winning and losing, because it becomes the default first choice for a minority of disaffected or uninterested voters who ignore party how-to-vote fliers, and simply vote straight down the ballot paper – the so-called “donkey vote”.
By the time the list of candidates for Mallee closed at noon yesterday, two late starters had swelled the field of candidates to 12.
Divisional returning officer for Mallee Peta Cameron read out the list of starters in the September 7 poll at 12.05pm, then former divisional returning officer Lawrie Jaensch, assisted by Divisional Clerk Karen East, performed the two-stage draw wearing a blindfold, as per the Electoral Act.
Candidates are first allocated a randomly drawn number, that determines the order in which their names will be listed when the numbers for their actual positions on the ballot paper are drawn.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday's Sunraysia Daily 17-8-2013.