Voter roll purged

THE City of Perth’s tarnished voter roll from the 2017 election has been purged and any renter, business nominee or non-resident owner who applied to join since will be audited.

The Voice has been onto the council about the integrity of the roll for a couple of months, as the eligibility of many voters has been called into question by the City of Perth inquiry hearings and now the final report. 

The report did not guess at how many total voters might’ve been ineligible, but it said one candidate alone, Keith Yong, had tried to get at least 45 votes registered ahead of the 2017 election. Those 45 were noticed before the election, but the report said the practice likely wasn’t isolated. 

City-based businesses are allowed to put forward two nominees to vote but the report said it was “common” for candidates to get business nominees signed up with no actual connection to the company, and sometimes the businesses had no clue they’d been enrolled. The inquiry found other examples of voters signing up under sham leases.

Former councillor Reece Harley said in July there were more “anomalies” on the 2017 roll and called for it to be audited, forwarding examples of strange entries to the City. Some of those oddities included far more votes being registered to a single business’s address than the two normally allowed.

In response to our queries this week the City of Perth’s confirmed the 2017 owners and occupiers roll will not be used. 

Normally non-resident voters fall off the roll after two elections. Even though there was no election in 2019 due to the council being suspended, a clause in the Local Government Act still counts that as an election for voter expiry. “As such, all occupiers that were on the owners and occupiers roll previous to the inquiry have now been automatically removed.” 

The response also stated “The City of Perth has conducted an audit of the owners and occupiers roll for all those who have joined from September 2017 onward. This audit incorporates reviewing lease agreements”. 

We’ve asked how many have been knocked off the list as a result of the audit but the City didn’t have the final tally yet. The CEO has until Friday September 11 to certify the owners and occupiers roll.

Two knocked back Candidates have also been more thoroughly scrutinised this time round. 

Those nominating as renters are being asked to provide evidence they are the actual named leaseholder and not just a business’s nominee. Corporate body nominees are eligible to vote, but not to stand. They’re also being asked for proof they have at least three months’ right of continuous occupation. 

Two candidates, the Mustang Bar’s Mike Keiller and cross-cultural business adviser Gloria Zhang, have not had their nominations accepted, and both are appealing the decision. 

By DAVID BELL

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