Kewdale ballot theft claim mars local government election

THE WA Electoral Commission is investigating allegations of stolen ballot papers in Kewdale.

The Returning Officer’s Report was presented to the special council meeting on Monday, October 23, during the swearing in of Belmont’s new councillors.

Both Cr Margie Bass and former councillor Paul Hitt, who spoke from the public gallery, raised concerns about irregularities.

Returning officer Mark Ducksbury’s report said the election was efficient from an operational view and relatively incident-free, despite complaints.

The officer said that while several complaints were raised, they generally were not more serious than other election events, with two exceptions – one being allegations of mail theft.

A resident of Kewdale arrived at the City of Belmont offices on election day seeking replacement packages for himself and his wife, but records indicated both had already voted.

The residents, along with their daughter, had been interstate during the election period and the report suggested their votes may have been obtained and lodged in their names.

The matter has been referred to the electoral commission and further action is pending.

A representative for the WAEC said it was aware only of material missing from a single household.

The returning officer also received complaints about ‘misleading behaviour’ relating to a candidate sending out information in envelopes marked ‘City of Belmont’.

Several people sent complaints to WAEC and the Minister for Local Government, but both the WAEC and the City of Belmont did not find the envelopes to be misleading.

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