Primary school fact sheet - Hare-Clark

Updated 22 Sep 2016

Hare-Clark is a type of proportional representation system.

This system is used when you need to elect more than 1 person from each electorate.

Hare-Clark is used in the ACT to elect Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly. They are called MLAs for short.

From the 2016 elections, there are 25 MLAs. They are elected from 5 electorates called Brindabella, Ginninderra, Kurrajong, Murrumbidgee and Yerrabi.

MLAs are elected for 4 years.

Hare-Clark was named after the two people who created it. Sir Thomas Hare was an English lawyer and created the system in 1859. Andrew Inglis Clark was a Tasmanian politician. He made some changes to the system to suit Tasmania.

Hare-Clark was first used in a Tasmanian election in 1897.

The people who want to be elected are called candidates.

You show which candidates you are voting for on the ballot paper by using numbers to show your choices.

To vote you start from 1 and keep numbering the boxes beside each candidate you like.

The order of your numbers shows the order in which you like the candidates. This is called showing your preferences.

You are electing 5 Members so you need to number at least 5 boxes. You can number more boxes if you want to.

All the ballot papers with a number "1" are counted. These are the formal votes.

Ballot papers without a number "1" or with more than one number "1" are called informal votes. These are able to be used in the count to elect candidates. Ticks and crosses are not counted.

A candidate has to receive a certain number of votes to be elected. This is called the quota. This is the formula to work out the quota:

Hare-Clark Quota formula 1

You can work out the quota after you have counted the formal votes (step 1). The number of vacancies is the number of candidates that are going to be elected.

Example: What is the quota if there are 2 vacancies and there are 100 formal votes?

Hare-Clark Quota formula 2

Hare-Clark Quota formula 3

Hare-Clark Quota formula 4

So, a candidate needs a quota of 34 votes to be elected in this example.

Any candidate who has the same number of votes as the quota, or more, is elected.

If all the vacancies have been filled, the election is finished.

If all the vacancies have not been filled, check to see if any candidate has more votes than the quota. If a candidate has more votes than the quota, go to step 4. If there are no candidates with more than the quota, go to step 5.

When a candidate has more votes than the quota these are called surplus votes. Surplus votes are given to other candidates by looking at the next choice shown by the voter on the ballot paper. Work out the new total of votes for each candidate then go back to step 3.

If there are still vacancies, find the candidate who has the lowest number of votes. This candidate is now taken out of the vote counting. This is called excluding the candidate. Transfer each of the candidate’s votes to another candidate by looking at the next choice shown by the voter on each ballot paper. Work out the new number of votes for each candidate then go back to step 3. The process of distributing surplus votes from elected candidates and excluding the candidate with the fewest votes goes on until all the vacancies are filled.

A casual vacancy happens when a member leaves the Legislative Assembly before the next election. A new member needs to be elected.

Elections ACT recounts the ballot papers from the last election to elect the new member. Only the ballot papers that elected the member who is leaving are counted.

Only candidates who were on the same ballot paper can be in the recount. They must fill out a form to tell us they want to be included.

The recount is done by looking at the number voters put on the ballot paper. The new Member is the person with the most votes.

Assembly Vacating member Date of resignation Replacement member Date elected
First Paul Whalan 30 April 1990 Terry Connolly 1 May 1990
Second Lou Westende 25 July 1994 Bill Stefaniak 23 August 1994
Third Terry Connolly 19 February 1996 Marion Reilly 21 March 1996
Rosemary Follett 12 December 1996 Simon Corbell 9 January 1997
Tony De Domenico 30 January 1997 Louise Littlewood 13 February 1997
Fourth Kate Carnell 13 December 2000 Jacqui Burke 18 January 2001
Fifth Gary Humphries 24 January 2003 Jacqui Burke 10 February 2003
Kerrie Tucker 14 September 2004 Not filled as 2004 pre-election period had commenced.  
Sixth Ted Quinlan 21 March 2006 Andrew Barr 5 April 2006
Seventh Jon Stanhope 16 May 2011 Chris Bourke 1 June 2011
Eighth Zed Seselja 11 June 2013 Nicole Lawder 26 June 2013
Katy Gallagher  23 December 2014 Meegan Fitzharris 16 January 2015
Mary Porter 19 February 2016 Jayson Hinder 7 March 2016
Brendan Smyth  15 July 2016 Val Jeffery 29 July 2016