The WA Electoral Commission said 927 voters had mistakenly returned their postal voting packages with the mandatory voter’s declaration slip torn off, missing, or unsigned, rendering them worthless.
‘That’s enough to change the results in many councils, particularly where there are tight contests,’ acting WA Electoral Commissioner Chris Avent said.
‘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,’ he said.
In the City of Melville in 2011 34.9 per cent of ratepayers voted in the local government elections, which was above the state average of 30.94 per cent, or 344,799 of eligible electors.
Of those, 14,624 (4.2 per cent) couldn’t be counted. More than 8,000 were returned unsigned, while a further 6,260 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 the State. Saturday October 19, is polling day and in order to be counted, all postal votes must be received by the returning officer before then.