ONGOING problems with vetting voters has been worsened by a lack of help from the WA Electoral Commission, a Perth council-commissioned audit declares.
The 2021 audit was carried out by KPMG Legal and found “communication between the WAEC and the City of Perth has been largely ineffective”.
At 2020’s election Perth council staff identified concerning cases of people applying to vote, but when asked to provide proof of a lease they presented forms that showed their first date of occupation was after they’d applied to vote.
A 2020 audit reckoned “on this basis the occupier nominee claim should have been rejected rather than accepted,” but the council’s rejections “were later overturned on appeal by the claimants to the WAEC”.
The new 2021 audit says the council has never received an explanation from the WAEC, setting the stage for a possible repeat.
Another risk stems from the WAEC not wanting to train external temporary staff brought in to handle the extra election workload.
They’re dealing with voter applications but don’t get training about “the release of sensitive information and the potential implication this has for the city if this type of information was to be leaked”, and the audit flags
a medium risk that “sensitive information may be released inappropriately to councillors, city staff, or the general public”.
The council tried to train the temps via informal slideshows but reckons the full resources of the WAEC are needed to get them up to speed. The audit says “the city has contacted the WAEC to determine the possibility for the agency to provide training, this request was declined”.
Instead the council will try to train up all governance staff who’ll then try to train the temps in time. Temps will also be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement this election.