Residents vote for Batman, “the man”, none of them

Residents of North Ward have had the highest rate of informal votes in the Dubbo Regional Council election.

Informal votes in the 2017 election are higher than an ever before according to local election analyst Peter Bartley.

While counting is still ongoing, by Monday afternoon 15.28 per cent of the votes in North Ward were informal. East Ward was not far behind at 15.1 per cent.

In South Ward and Central Ward it was more than one in every ten people who voted informally.

Those in Wellington, and the surrounding villages, were the shining stars of the election. There were only 3.24 per cent of residents who voted informally.

Local election analyst Peter Bartley said from his observations during counting on Saturday night, about half of the informal votes were intentionally left blank, another 40 per cent of the informal votes were invalid from mistakes and the final 10 per cent were protest votes.

Mistakes included voting above and below the line or using ticks and crosses below the line. Votes were also unable to be counting because they included the same number twice or had voted for groups both above and below the line.

When it came to the protest votes the responses got creative.

Mr Bartley said he saw a range of inappropriate drawings on the ballot papers, there were also swear words, comments such as “none worth voting for”, rants about the undemocratic process and someone who said they were voting for Batman, who they had drawn on the paper.

Another ballot paper contained a vote for John Ryan “the man” but was discounted when they voted for him twice.

Protest votes:

  • Drawings of genitalia
  • Swearing
  • “I wouldn’t vote for any of them”
  • “Complete bloody stuff up”
  • Voting for Group C
  • Voting for Batman, who was drawn on the ballot paper as a stick figure
  • “Don’t want to”
  • “None worth voting for”
  • “This is a big joke”
  • “I hate voting”
  • “One Town One Vote” 

The number of people who voted was also fewer than ever before, Mr Bartley said. At the 2012 election 88 per cent of those registered to vote went to the polls, while this year it was only 81 per cent.

By Monday afternoon six candidates had reached their quota – the number of votes needed to get them elected – from first preferences: John Ryan, Dayne Gumley, Ben Shields, Jane Diffey, Greg Mohr and Kevin Parker.

Ms Diffey, a North Ward candidate, had the highest number of first preference votes. Mr Shields, who stood in the same ward, had the third highest. The second highest number of votes went to Mr Ryan, while Greg Mohr came in fourth.

The counting of the votes began on Saturday at 6pm when voting closed. The NSW Electoral Commission said it was expected counting would be completed by Saturday, September 16.