Dozens of people at an aged care facility in Perth will have to vote again in the WA Senate election re-run because of a problem with a ballot box. The latest voting bungle comes despite the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) promising improved security and counting procedures. The election re-run is being held because 1,370 votes were lost in the September poll and the High Court declared the election void. The AEC has now investigated the handling of about 75 ballot papers cast earlier this week at the Merriwa Estate RAAF retirement village in Perth’s northern suburbs.
In a statement, the AEC said a mobile polling team attended the facility on Monday and identified a problem with the construction of the ballot box. “The team applied a temporary solution, however the container used was later found to be not fully secure in accordance with the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918,” the statement said.
“The AEC has since obtained legal advice about this matter, and those affected voters are considered to have not voted in this election. “Accordingly, the AEC is able to remedy this situation and protect the franchise of those voters by enabling them to validly cast their vote.
AEC spokesman Phil Diak said that due to the vast distances travelled by mobile teams, lightweight ballot boxes were constructed on site. “In this situation the box was not constructed to be fully secure,” he said.