My 2016 Senate Election Vote

It is possible to check if your vote for the Senate was counted correctly in the 2016 Australian Federal election. To begin, go to this AEC website, download the Formal Preferences file for your relevant state or territory and unzip.

In my case, I download the Queensland file. The preferences I gave the first five candidates were 2, 1, 46, 47 and 20 so I type

grep 2,1,46,47,20 aec-senate-formalpreferences-20499-QLD.csv

and out comes

Griffith,South Brisbane,874,32,29,",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,2,1,46,
109,48,49,32,33,34,60,61,114,115,116,117,118,119,18,4,120,121,58,59,24,25,26, 30,31,19,5,110,111,28,29,57,56,55,54,53,52,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,50,

The output begins with my electorate and polling place. I don’t know what the next three numbers mean. The numbers following the string of commas are my preferences, in order that the candidates appeared on the ballot paper.

Here is where it gets embarrassing. Eagle eyed readers will immediately have noticed that there is no 39 in this list, and there are two 82s. Nevertheless, I believe it is still formal.

Using the distribution of preferences from this other AEC site, it is possible to track my vote through the count. It passes through the hands of a few no-hopers before reaching Larissa Waters (Green) who is elected in 9th place.

Larissa Waters is elected at the 738th count with a surplus of only 181 votes. In theory my vote should then transfer at a paltry value of 181/209475 (about .0009) to Suzanne Grant (Xenophon team) but the vagaries of the inclusive Gregory system and the existence of loss by fraction makes it hard to say this with any certainty.

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