How voting works

How to vote for the 2017 Annual General Election?

PARSA members (which are enrolled postgraduates at ANU who have not written to PARSA to cancel their membership) directly elect their 31 representatives during the Annual General Election, and replacements during by-elections, as well as the postgraduate member of ANU Council, using an optional voluntary preferential system.

On Monday, August 14 at 9am, ANU postgraduate students will be able to login at using their ANU ID and vote for 31 positions on PARSA's Postgraduate Representative Council.

They will also be able to vote for the Postgraduate Member of ANU Council. 

Voting will close at 5pm on Friday, August 18.

For more information about the election, and candidate information, visit

If you have any questions, or unable to login despite being an enrolled postgraduate student at ANU, contact

How are candidates elected?

PARSA uses an optional preferential voting system, which is detailed in the PARSA Election Regulations and summarised below.

To cast a vote, the elector must place the number ‘1’ in the square next to their first choice candidate. They have the ‘option’ to show further preferences by placing the number ‘2’ in the square next to their second choice candidate, the number ‘3’ next to their third choice and so on. They may number as many or as few squares as they wish.

To be elected in the optional preferential system, a candidate has to receive 50% + 1 of the total formal votes in the count. This is called an ‘absolute majority’.

For example

If there are 8,756 formal first preference votes in an election the absolute majority is calculated as: 8,756 ÷ 2 = 4,378 + 1 = 4,379

  1. If a candidate has an absolute majority, that candidate is elected and no further counting is necessary.
  2. If no candidate is elected, the candidate with the least number of votes is ‘excluded’ which means the excluded candidate’s votes are re-sorted to the other candidates according to the 2nd preference shown on each ballot paper.
  3. However, if any of those ballot papers do not have 2nd preferences, those ballot papers are known as ‘exhausted’ ballot papers and are removed from the count. They are then only used to balance the number of votes at the end of each exclusion, to the number of first preference votes.
  4. The process of exclusions is repeated until such time as a candidate has an absolute majority of the votes remaining in the count and that candidate is elected.
  5. The absolute majority needed to be elected is recalculated after every candidate is excluded. This is due to exhausted ballot papers not continuing in the count.

If you have any questions related to the optional preferential system, come along to a candidate information session, or contact PARSA Operation Manager.

Contact PARSA

PARSA Office
Melville Hall, Building 12
Ellery Crescent
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 2601

Office Hours:

9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
Call Us: +61 (02) 6125 4187
Write to Us: