Number all boxes for vote to count

VOTERS are reminded to number every square on their green ballot paper to ensure their vote counts at the federal election next Saturday.

Feedback at pre-polling locations on the Sunshine Coast has suggested some voters had decided to number only the square of their favoured candidate, which, in a federal poll, means an informal vote that won't be included in the final tally.

"It's important for us to get as many people to vote formally as possible, after all they've taken the trouble to get to the polling place," the returning officer for Fairfax, David McKenzie, said.

He said research by the Australian Electoral Commission revealed the proportion of informal votes rose as the number of candidates on the ballot paper increased.

This year there are 10 candidates in Fisher and eight in Fairfax.

In the 2010 federal election, both Fisher and Fairfax had four candidates.

"Almost half of those informal votes, we believe, are accidental - they either haven't read the instructions properly because of literary or numeracy skills, or people are unable to use a pencil properly due to old age, for example," he said.

Mr McKenzie advised that people who made a mistake on their ballot paper could ask the polling staff for a new one.

Voters are advised to follow the instructions on the ballot papers.