When a candidate resigns or becomes disendorsed how do you vote?

A number of candidates for the federal election have resigned or been disendorsed in recent days, but can you still vote for them, even though the ballot papers have been printed and pre-polling is underway?

Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan resigned after making anti-Muslim posts online, One Nation's Steve Dickson quit the party over a strip club scandal, and Labor NT Senate candidate Wayne Kurnorth was disendorsed over anti-Semitic posts.

The upheaval has left Queensland voters wondering how they will number their Senate ballot now that a candidate in their home state has withdrawn.

The dilemma is, does one put a number next to that person or leave it blank?

If its left blank, will it be lodging an informal vote?

Here are some answers.

How do I number the boxes if a candidate has resigned?

You can still vote for a candidate who has resigned or been disendorsed.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) says there were two ways to vote on a Senate ballot.

You can vote above the line and number at least six boxes in order of choice for parties,

Or you can vote below the line for individual candidates numbering at least 12 boxes from one to 12.

You can number beyond 12 to complete the whole ballot paper, but the choice remains with the voter.

For House of Representatives ballot papers, voters need to number every box in order of their preferred candidates.

The AEC website does note that if a House of Reps ballot has all boxes numbered but one, "then it is assumed that the unmarked square constitutes the last preference and the ballot paper will be deemed formal".

What happens to the ballot papers now?

The AEC does not reprint ballot papers if a candidate resigns.

The AEC ballots are printed straight after the declarations are made, which is a legislated thing to do — for this election, it was on April 24,

If a candidate resigns or is disendorsed, that is entirely a matter for the candidate and the party.

From a process point of view, the ballot papers are the same, voting rules stay the same, and counting the votes stays the same.

What if the candidate who resigned wins?

It is possible for any candidate to be elected to the Parliament if they get enough votes,

Any candidate that was standing for the 2019 election in the House of Reps or the Senate right across the county can be voted in.

From an AEC point of view, all elected candidates and their names are inscribed on the writ that goes back to the Governor-General for the House and back to each state governor for the Senate.

We advise who has been elected to Parliament and they're entitled to take their places in Parliament — the AEC's role ends there,

We run the election unchanged and our job is to return the writ with all elected members and senators at the end of it.

The disendorsed candidate wins then resigns ... what next?

There have been instances where disendorsed candidates have run as independents and won.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson entered Federal Parliament as an independent for the Queensland seat of Oxley despite being disendorsed by the Liberal Party before the 1996 election.

However, if the winning candidate quit the race entirely (and remained true to their word), they would need to resign and not take their place in the Parliament, triggering a by-election.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said at the 1999 Victorian election a sitting independent MP died on polling day in the marginal seat of Frankston East.

The Kennett government stayed in caretaker mode for two weeks until a by-election was held, after which the crossbench independents backed the formation of the Bracks Labor government.

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