More miscount concern

THE candidate who fell just 33 votes short of booting out Stirling mayor Giovanni Italiano from his council ward is “concerned” there might have been a miscount, and wants the WA electoral commission to review its systems to remove future doubt.

Teresa Olow read the Voice’s stories last week about alleged problems at counts in Bayswater and Canning and says she is “now concerned after reading the articles about how the counts were conducted”.

“As this is my first time running for council, I would expect that the electoral commission to do the counting in a professional manner,” she says.

“I would like the electoral commission to review the way the counting is done.”

Votes for Stirling’s Osborne ward were counted three times because it was so close, and on the third count, Cr Italiano had two scrutineers and Ms Olow just one, she notes.

However, Ms Olow’s scrutineer Mudji Nielson told the Voice ”they did very well” and is confident votes were counted correctly.

Cr David Lagan was in the room at the time and he says nothing looked awry. But he notes the returning officer Raymond Smith, who’d run the election on behalf of the commission, had only done the job previously in state elections.

Cr Lagan says “three or four” boxes arrived in the room half an hour into the count, and he never found out what they were for, despite asking about them on the night.

Voice calls and emails to Mr Smith went unanswered.

Cr David Michael was a scrutineer for Cr Italiano and he says there were “no problems”. He did not recall the allegedly unaccounted-for boxes.

In Perth, Cr Reece Harley, who ran against lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi, says he’s confident everything ran smoothly.

The Voice reported last week that former Bayswater councillor Michael Sabatino is taking the commission to court, claiming “something went terribly wrong” during the count.

He believes the count was rushed and got “complicated and piles were mixed up” after new counters joined the table.

The court was due to hear the matter on December 11, after the paper’s deadline.

by EMMIE DOWLING

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