Nationals seek voter surge review
The WA Nationals have suspicions about whether a jump in voter enrolments before the State poll could have cost former leader Brendon Grylls his Pilbara seat and have asked the WA Electoral Commission to investigate.
Nationals State president James Hayward wrote to electoral commissioner David Kerslake this month, asking for insight into a rapid increase in enrolments between June and September, when 3000 voters were added to the Pilbara roll.
The 16 per cent increase was the biggest jump in enrolments for a regional seat, with neighbouring seats Kimberley and North West Central recording less than one per cent growth over the same period.
Last year, the State Government passed legislation introducing direct enrolment in WA, where voters on the Federal electoral roll were automatically included on the State roll.
Mr Hayward argued in the letter that between March 2015 and June last year, enrolment figures for the Pilbara were falling and the extra 3000 voters in the following three months was a clear anomaly.
“Put it this way, it is a large chunk, and we only missed out by around 500 votes; 3000 new voters is quite an incredible amount of newly enrolled voters,” he said.
Party campaign director Nathan Quigley said the Nationals just wanted to be sure nothing “funny” was happening.
“This is the same period in which Brendon announced his policy in relation to the special (iron ore) lease rental and obviously during that period painted himself as a very big target,” he said.
An Electoral Commission spokesman said that as a result of direct enrolment, 70,000 voters were added to the State roll.
“In some districts the rate of enrolment change may be much greater reflecting more transient populations — such as fly-in, flyout workers and particular cultural groups,” the spokesman said.