The Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn, in his first interview since the AEC lost 1375 ballot papers in the Western Australian senate recount, has admitted that the public’s confidence in the AEC has been damaged as a result of the debacle. Speaking with RN’s Breakfast, Mr Killesteyn said that the ‘gravity of the situation’ had not been lost on him. ‘Nearly 1400 Western Australian electors have had their Senate vote disenfranchised and I apologise unreservedly to all those electors,’ he said. ‘We’re left with a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt about the outcome of the WA Senate election.’ Mr Killestyn added that a shift to electronic voting, where a vote is registered straight away and can’t be tampered with, was ‘inevitable.’
‘[A]fter the election I did issue a discussion paper on electronic voting, particularly internet voting… [there is] certainly a good debate that is needed about electronic voting.’
The AEC will declare the Senate result in WA at midday Perth time today.
Former police commissioner Mick Keelty is investigating the disappearance of the missing ballot papers.
There is some criticism that the AEC is declaring the Senate result in WA before the investigation has been completed, however Mr Killeysten said that the AEC had ‘no choice’ but to declare the results.
‘I’m obligated to declare the result irrespective of the fact that these ballots are missing… legally I just have no choice,’ he said.