Jockeys shouldn’t be placing bets on their own races, right? So why on earth do we let candidates decide our votes for us? How to vote cards are nasty, undemocratic, and should be shelved.

How to vote cards are an unnecessary bloodsport. We want teamwork from these folks, that is literally the whole point of a council. What would it feel like as a newly elected councillor to rock up on your first day knowing that a fellow councillor had publicly declared that they rank you low?

Primarily, candidates want to be #1. But with a large candidate pool, they might not get enough votes first go round to hit the quota. So, candidates also want to be ranked high on other candidates’ ballots.

Maybe a candidate could target popular candidates to seek out their voters’ surplus votes, or maybe they could chase unpopular candidates, and gamble that those candidates might bottom out.

To get there, they might offer the other candidate something in return on their own how to vote card. They scratch each other’s backs.

With all this going on behind the scenes, your favourite candidate’s how to vote card might not even reflect who they think is best for the role, let alone what you might think!

Say there are 10 candidates. Once you’ve chosen where to put your #1, there are 362,880 different ways you can write the numbers 2-10 on your ballot. Isn’t that mind boggling?

With so many permutations, what are the chances that you and your favourite candidate would think exactly the same? Plus, they are motivated to get themselves in, while you’re thinking about who would actually be good in the role.

And here’s the cool part: How to vote cards don’t have to mean a thing. We can all just ignore them. We don’t have to hand our decision making over to anyone else.

Voting is your right. It is a right that has been bloody hard fought for. Don’t let the candidates do the voting for you. Together we can smash this whole thing open. If voters stop following how to vote cards, candidates will stop issuing them.

But how to vote? Bare minimum, read the candidates statements. Want more? Listen to the podcast, check out the candidate forum on YouTube. If you’re super keen, reach out to the candidates themselves and ask them questions. They don’t bite. Let each candidate speak for themselves and order them by how good you think they’ll be as a councillor.

How to vote cards only work if we let them work. You are the voter. The power is yours.

Gen Anderson, Leongatha.