The Australian Electoral Commission has admitted its incompetence will send almost 2.5 million voters back to the polls. Despite yesterday declaring six politcal “winners” amid farcical scenes in the Western Australia Senate race, the AEC hinted it would challenge its own result after losing 1400 votes. The challenge would likely trigger a fresh poll. Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn apologised for the lost ballot papers, conceding it was likely they had been lost forever, and hinted he would petition for a fresh election. “I’m obligated to declare the result, irrespective of the fact that these ballots are missing. Legally, I just have no other choice,” he said. “Nearly 1400 West Australian electors have had their Senate votes disenfranchised and I apologise unreservedly to all of those electors,” Mr Killesteyn told ABC Radio before the result was handed down.
“We’re left with a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt about the outcome of the West Australian Senate election.
“We’ve made extensive searches for these missing ballot papers.
“Despite searching and researching of warehouses, counting centres, polling places, motor vehicles, the couriers that were involved, they’ve not been located, so I’m not holding out a lot of hope that we’ll find them.”
The sloppy result, which has reignited debate for an overhaul to Senate elections, comes as Independent Senator Nick Xenophon implied Mr Palmer, who has threatened legal action over alleged corruption within the AEC, had spooked some seasoned Coalition members from agreeing to election reform.