During the recount of WA Senate ballot papers the AEC found that some ballot papers had been misplaced. The details of those ballot papers, as advised in a media release on 8 November 2013, are set out below.
The table below is drawn from the records from the initial Senate count and sets out:
|Division||Forrest||Pearce||Total ballot papers|
|Polling Place||Bunbury East||Henley Brook||Mt Helena||Wundowie||Provisional Count 1|
|D||Help End Marijuana Prohibition||7||7|
|G||Shooter and Fishers||14||14|
|J||Secular Party of Australia||1||1|
|L||The Wikileaks Party||6||5||11|
|M||Katter's Australian Party||2||1||3|
|N||Family First Party||11||11|
|O||No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics||1||1||2|
|Q||Stop the Greens||3||3|
|S||The Greens (WA)||112||112|
|T||Animal Justice Party||12||9||21|
|Z||Australian Labor Party||164||164|
|Sub-total formal votes||151||350||393||356||0||1250|
The table below shows a state summary of the recount and the number of challenges to ballot papers by scrutineers
|Division||Expected ballot papers||ATL||Informal||For CSS||Challenged - Authenticity||Challenged - Other||Total ballot papers accounted for||% Complete|
The download below shows the detail by polling place.
On 10 October 2013, the Electoral Commissioner directed a recount of certain WA Senate ballot papers. This direction was issued subsequent to requests for a recount following the scrutiny of WA Senate ballot papers, distribution of preferences and determination of successful candidates but prior to the declaration of the poll. The formal recount at the Central Senate Scrutiny (CSS) centre in Northbridge began at 9:00am on Thursday 17 October.
The recount involves a fresh look at informal ballot papers plus all ballot papers where voters had recorded their Senate vote above-the-line in the 2013 Federal Election (more than 1.2 million ballot papers). This includes votes cast by WA voters at polling places within the state, at other voting centres throughout Australia and overseas, or by post.
The Central Senate Scrutiny (CSS) is the process of counting Senate ballot papers and distributing the preferences marked on them to determine which candidates have been elected. The CSS is carried out in accordance with the requirements of Part XVIII of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act). The AEC uses a computerised system to assist with this process. The software used is called EasyCount Senate (ECS). The system takes the entered information for each of the votes cast in a Senate election, performs the distribution of preferences, and indicates which candidates have been elected.
Immediately after Polling Day, Senate ballot papers are sorted into those which are formal above-the-line (ATL), those which appear formal below-the-line (BTL) and those which are informal. The number of formal ATL votes for each group/party is loaded into ECS as are the Group Voting Tickets (GVTs) for each group/party. Counting of ATL and obviously informal votes is undertaken by each local AEC office.
Votes marked BTL are data entered into ECS at the CSS premises. Each ballot paper is twice entered into ECS by AEC data entry operators. The initial data entry and the second entry (for verification) are undertaken by different data entry operators. During this process, ECS is able to detect whether there is a discrepancy in the data entry by the two operators, or whether a vote is informal. Discrepancies in data entry are resolved immediately. Once all BTL votes have been recorded in this way, ECS combines them with ATL preferences, performs the distribution of preferences including carrying out exclusions and calculating transfer values, and outputs reports that show which candidates have been elected to the Senate.
The recount will be conducted by the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for WA at a single location. It will involve up to 120 counting staff counting daily from 9am-4:30pm plus preparation and packing up time. It will continue until all relevant ballot papers have been counted.
The recount involves looking again at all votes which are informal or counted as formal ATL. It will involve checking that the votes are in fact informal or formal ATL (and for which party/group). The ballot papers will be counted to ensure that the number recorded as informal or recorded as formal ATL for each party/group is correct. Where figures need to be corrected, this will be recorded and, at the end of counting, loaded into ECS along with figures that did not need to be corrected.
Loading of the recount figures into ECS will enable the system to recalculate the distribution of preferences and determine the successful candidates.
Candidates are entitled to appoint people to act as scrutineers for the duration of the recount.
The circumstances that will lead to a ballot paper being classified as formal or informal are prescribed by s 268(1) of the Electoral Act, and interpretations of that provision are supported by various judicial decisions.
The general approach is that an elector who has marked a ballot paper has done so with the intention to cast a formal vote. Accordingly, where an examination of what is written on a ballot paper results in it being capable of complying with the formality rules, it will be ruled as being formal and included in the count. This is consistent with the principle of giving effect to the franchise where it is possible to do so within the formality rules of the Electoral Act.
A ballot paper will be ruled as informal if:
Note: ballot papers which are referred to the AEO for consideration and contain a numbering sequence BTL, will be data entered into ECS to assist the AEO in ruling on formality.
If there is a numbering sequence above the line only, with a single first preference mark, the ballot paper will be ruled as formal. For above the line votes only a first preference mark can be a number 1, a tick or a cross.
The recount has now been completed by the AEO, The declaration of the poll occurred on Monday 4 November 2013 and the writ was returned Wednesday 6 November 2013.
The validity of the election of any member of parliament may only be disputed by a petition to the Court of Disputed Returns within 40 days of the return of the writ. Further information can be found in the Candidates Handbook.