Fact sheet - Glossary

Updated 6 Sep 2016
Candidate
A person who has been nominated for election.
Compulsory voting
Every Australian citizen of 18 years and over must enrol and vote at elections and referendums.
Electorate
An area represented by one or more members of parliament. Also known as a seat, division or a constituency. For ACT Legislative Assembly elections there are five electorates: Brindabella, Ginninderra, Murrumbidgee, Kurrajong and Yerrabi.
Excluded candidate
A candidate who is taken out of the count of votes because he or she has fewer votes than any other candidate.
Exhausted vote
A ballot paper that can no longer be distributed because no preferences are shown for any candidates remaining in the count.
Formal vote
A ballot paper which has been marked correctly. In the ACT under Hare-Clark electors must use numbers to show their preferences. Electors are asked to vote for at least as many candidates as there are vacancies in their electorate. See informal vote.
Government
The political party or coalition of parties which is led by the Chief Minister. 
Hare-Clark
An electoral system which draws its name from two men: Thomas Hare (1806-1891), an English solicitor who wrote a famous book on proportional representation and Andrew Inglis Clark (1848-1907), a Tasmanian Attorney-General who introduced proportional representation into State law. A fact sheet What is the Hare-Clark Electoral System? is available.
Informal vote
A ballot paper which has not been marked correctly. In the ACT, examples of informal votes include: a ballot paper with no first preference; a ballot paper with two or more first preferences; or a ballot paper where the name of the voter can be identified.
Legislative Assembly
The lower house of some parliaments and the only house in the ACT. A total of 25 Members are elected from five electorates to represent the citizens of the ACT and make decisions on their behalf.
Minority government
A government formed by a party or a coalition of parties (two or more parties) when they don't have a parliamentary majority.
MLA
A Member of the Legislative Assembly.
Opposition
The Legislative Assembly members of the major political party or coalition who oppose the government.
Parliament
The political assembly in which elected representatives debate and vote upon proposed laws. The word 'parliament' comes from 15th century English, and from a French word meaning 'talking place'. In the ACT, the Legislative Assembly is the parliament.
Preferential voting
A voting system which allows voters to list candidates in order of preference. For example if a voter's first choice is for an excluded candidate, the voter's second choice will be counted. If the voter's second choice is also for an excluded candidate, the voter's third choice will be counted, and so on.
Proportional representation
Used when more than one candidate is to be elected in one electorate. Each elected candidate represents the same proportion of voters as each other elected candidate.
Quota
The number of votes a candidate has to receive in order to be elected.
Redistribution
A redrawing of electoral boundaries which aims to ensure that, as nearly as practicable, each ACT electorate gains representation in the ACT Legislative Assembly in proportion to the electorate's voting population.
Referendum
A process of referring a matter proposed or passed by a legislative body to the electorate to vote for approval or rejection.
Robson Rotation
Where the names in each column of candidates are printed in different orders on consecutive ballot papers so that no candidate in a column has the advantage of appearing in the same position on every ballot paper.
Scrutineer
A person appointed by the candidate to observe voting and the counting of ballot papers to ensure that the process is conducted properly.
Surplus votes
Those votes that a candidate receives in excess of the quota. They are distributed to other candidates according to the further preferences indicated on the ballot papers by those voters.