Legislative Council Election
NSW Legislative Council Members represent the state as a whole rather than particular electoral districts, and are elected for a term of 8 years.
There are 42 members in the Legislative Council (LC), with 21 elected at each Election.
The proportional representation voting system is used, which aims to allocate seats in the Legislative Council in proportion to the votes cast, once a certain quota has been reached.
There are two ways electors can cast their vote on the LC ballot paper, either by voting above or below the line. The line divides the ballot paper into a top section of groups, and a bottom section of the candidates within those groups, which includes an additional column for ungrouped candidates.
The initial scrutiny of LC ballot papers is done in the polling places on election night, where the ballot papers are sorted to ascertain the number of above-the-line votes for each group. Blank ballot papers are isolated and counted and all other ballot papers reported in the Other category.
The same system is used for declaration votes (absent, postal etc).
Ballot papers are then sent to the NSWEC's central count centre at Riverwood in Sydney. The ballot papers arrive sorted by those marked above the line and those marked below the line within each polling place or declaration type (eg absent votes) The ballot papers are data entered into a computer application which does the complex proportional representation count to elect the 21 Members.