Plea to make votes count in council elections

During the 2011 poll, 755 City of Mandurah voters mistakenly returned their postal voting packages with the mandatory voter’s declaration slip torn off, missing, or unsigned, rendering them worthless.

‘With voter turnout traditionally quite low in non-compulsory local government elections, the last thing we want is large numbers of people wasting their votes,’ said Acting WA Electoral Commissioner Chris Avent. ‘That’s enough to change the results in many councils, particularly where there are tight contests.’

Statewide in 2011, just 31 per cent (344,799) of eligible electors voted but 14,624 (4.2 per cent) of those votes couldn’t be counted.

More than 8000 were returned unsigned, while a further 6260 were missing the declaration panel altogether.

To reduce the chance of voters mistakenly tearing the declaration slip off the 2013 ballot envelopes, the WAEC has amended the elector certificate instructions and included more prominent instructions.

Almost 1.2 million postal voting packages have been sent out across WA, with nearly 800 candidates vying for just over 300 vacancies.