Lockwood resident calls for new vote

ANOTHER vote should be held in the Lockwood Ward to ensure the right candidates were elected, according to Shelbourne resident Michael Jerman. 

Mr Jerman was one of almost 1000 residents who received apparent failure to vote notices following the council elections, despite voting. 

He said he was sceptical of Victorian Electoral Commission assurances that all the votes had been counted and said another vote was the only way to be certain. 

“You just can’t take their word that these votes have been counted,” Mr Jerman said. “I’m wondering how we can verify that. 

“The only way we can ensure that the right candidates were elected is holding another election in the Lockwood Ward to ensure the right candidates are in the seat.” 

David Arscott of Kangaroo Flat said the VEC’s explanation that a faulty barcode scanner was to blame for the problem “didn’t wash”. 

“We have to accept it, but it doesn’t seem to fit to me,” he said. 

“People have questioned what difference the votes would make to the preference system and I think that’s fair enough. 

“With all the money they’ve invested, for the barcode scanner not to read the votes and for it to have taken all this time to find out just doesn’t wash.” 

Annette Constable said there was “clearly something wrong with the system”, and Julie Curnick agreed. 

“I don’t think it’s good enough,” Ms Curnick said. 

“Postal ballots are great for older people who can’t get out to vote, but I work with technology all the time and I know it goes wrong. They should have taken precautions.” 

City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann had said the community needed confidence in the system. 

“Hopefully (the VEC) realised the issue and can rectify it,” Mr Niemann said. 

A spokesman for the VEC said the council could choose between postal and attendance voting and said the VEC was 100 per cent confident in the result. 

“The reconciliations for the number of ballot envelopes received was the same as the number admitted to the count,” the spokesman said.  

“This provides 100 per cent confidence that the candidates who polled the best were elected.  

“The error experienced had no impact at all on the election result, only in the generation of non-voter notices.”

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