Missed ballots trigger council recount
More than 1000 ballot papers were not counted during the weekend’s council elections in Hume, forcing a re-count in a ward where the winning candidates had already been declared.
But Wednesday morning's re-count did not change the elections results and all councillors-elect remain.
The Victorian Electoral Commission said 1100 uncounted ballot papers were discovered in a box when the returning officer began returning the paperwork to the council on Tuesday.
Candidates Casey Nunn, Drew Jessop, Chandra Bamunusinghe and Alan Bolton, who were declared the winners on Tuesday, were immediately notified and their scrutineers are attending the re-count. They were due to be sworn in on Thursday.
Victorian Electoral Commission spokeswoman Paul Thornton-Smith said there were only 148 votes separating Mr Bolton and the first runner-up, Celal Sahin.
There are about 20,000 voters registered in Aitken Ward.
‘‘We’re trying to find out what happened,’’ Mr Thornton-Smith said.
‘‘Clearly it was human error and these 1100 votes just ended up not being counted. They were there but they were only found afterwards so we’re including them in the count.’’
Earlier, Victorian Electoral Commission spokeswoman Sue Lang told radio station 3AW that the commission was "pretty sure that the result will be the same".
"We’re confident because it’s not a huge number of papers," she said.
"But obviously we don’t know that for sure until the process is complete and there is a mechanism in place to amend the original declaration if necessary."
She said the officer had been doing a final reconciliation of the ballot papers before sending them back to the council when he discovered there was a discrepancy in the number of ballot papers counted.
"They were in one of the boxes of ballot papers that had been counted but the wrapper on them indicated that they hadn’t actually been data-entered," Mr Lang said.