It is fundamental for public elections to be open and transparent. Steve Tully, Chief Commissioner's refusal to make the details of the State election continues to bring Victoria's public elections in to disrepute.
A number of issues of concern have been identified in relation to the Commissions conduct of the state election including:
- Reports that the Victorian Electoral Commission had accessed the results of the electronic voting kiosk data files prior to the close of the ballot on 26 November 2006 without notifying or in the presence of scrutineers.
- The failure of the Victorian Electoral Commission to provide daily statistical information the number of postal and pre-poll ballot papers issued and received in the lead-up to the 26 November 2006 State Election.
- The failure of the Victorian Electoral Commission to publish detailed polling place result for the Legislative Council (Polling place results were published by the Electoral Commission in relation to the Victorian Legislative Assembly but not the Legislative Council) In past elections polling place results were published for both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council
- The certification of software used to calculate the results of the State election.
- The number of serious mistakes made in the counting of the Victorian Legislative Council election.
- The refusal of the Victorian Electoral Commission to provide detailed copies of information requested in a timely fashion so as to enable independent public analysis and review.
- The need for legislation and regulations to recognise the Internet as a means of providing public information and details of election results.
- The need to review the Victorian State Ombudsman Act to remove the exclusion of the Victorian Electoral Commission from review by the Office of the Victorian State Ombudsman.
Additional information is available on the Internet site http://melbcity.topcities.com
A letter has been sent to ALL members of the State Parliament and the State Ombudsman requesting a review of the Victorian Election Commission.
Saturday, 10 March 2007
VOTE COUNTING: Election Savant Battles Electoral Commission // $5000 Charge For Polling Place Data Shock
Election expert Anthony van der Craats has declared war on the cardigan wearers at the Victorian Electoral Commission over their failure to fully disclose crucial count-information from the last Victorian election.
CONTROVERSIAL COMPUTER COUNTS
The VEC's controversial decision to spend millions of dollars on vote-counting software for local government and proportional representation state ballots continues to cause the state agency problems.
Critics - like van der Craats - say that the software does not comply with legislative requirements of disclosure and transparency.
Anthony on his website says that:
Information obtained under FOI indicates that the software used by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been fully certified and that there is insufficient checks and balances in the system to ensure that the results of the computerised count are accurate and correct.
He asks (in relation to the Mooney Valley Counsil by-election) why the VEC are using a computerised count in elections where it is clearly inefficient to do so?:
The election is expected to take 24 data-entry operators two hours to count., That's 48 man hours. A manual count would take four people approximately 4-5 hours to count a net savings of 28 man hours. So where is the benefit of a computerised count, and at what costs..
He also claims that a computerised count is impossible to correctly scrutinise, a point well understood by any politico who has attempted to do so. Dozens of data enterers quickly key in the ballots and it's practically impossible to scrutinise the count in the way that is normally the case in Australian elections. The Commission seems to regard count scrutineers as their natural enemy and they appear to be using these computerised counts as a weapon against the "inconvenience" they cause.
What they don't get is that scrutiny of vote-counting and a faith in the integrity of the election process itself is at the heart of why - unlike some societies - we accept the legitimacy of governments that are elected, regardless of how much we might individually disagree with them. Electoral Commissions are the custodians of that faith and I suspect may not fully comprehend its importance.
POLLING PLACE DATA COSTS $5000!
Van der Craats does get it though and is like a dog with a bone on these issues, thankfully.
His latest battle with the VEC centres on their refusal to publish Legislative Council results by polling place, something they routinely had done in the past.
After van der Craats requested this data under the Freedom of Information Act, they reluctantly agreed to comply but only if he paid some $5000 for them to compile it. Some might call that the most expensive piece of free information ever sought.
This position is unsustainable. Polling place breakdowns of the upper house voting information ought be published by the Commission as a matter of course, in the unlikely event they don't have the resources to do so then the Government must ensure they do.
Posted by Andrew Landeryou at 11:45 AM