‘Miss­ing’ bal­lot pa­pers re­ported amid elec­tion mishaps

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

Can­di­dates in last week­end’s lo­cal govern­ment elec­tion have flagged wor­ries about a pos­si­ble sec­ond lapse by the WA Elec­toral Com­mis­sion.

Deputy Shire pres­i­dent Ju­lia Mel­drum said she had spo­ken with ratepay­ers who claimed they had never re­ceived postal bal­lots. The news fol­lows an er­ror late last month when more than 500 ratepay­ers were told to tear up Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der bal­lots mis­tak­enly sent to Au­gusta-Mar­garet River Shire prop­erty own­ers.

“The 21-day elec­tion pe­riod is al­ready a tight time­frame and cer­tainly when there are er­rors as we have ex­pe­ri­enced this elec­tion — the Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der de­ba­cle — it will di­rectly af­fect the re­sult,” Cr Mel­drum said.

A WAEC spokesman said no other mis­takes af­fected the elec­tion, with two known in­stances of a res­i­dent left off the elec­toral roll who later had vot­ing pa­pers sup­plied. “It should be noted that at lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions in par­tic­u­lar, the lo­cal govern­ment or the WAEC will of­ten get peo­ple in­di­cat­ing they did not re­ceive their pack­age when in fact they are not on the elec­toral roll,” he said.

WAEC said the con­fu­sion was “quite com­mon” in the Au­gusta-Mar­garet River Shire bec- ause of ab­sen­tee land­lords.

Trumped can­di­date and for­mer City of Perth chief ex­ec­u­tive Frank Ed­wards said miss­ing pa­pers could have af­fected the vote for the fourth spot, won by Cr Ian Earl.

For­mer deputy Shire pres­i­dent Kylie Ken­naugh said she heard many com­plaints.

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