Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Municipal Blues

The VEC sets course for November ship wreck

Electoral reform is back on the agenda.

With the coming of the November municipal poll and both the Australian and Victorian Government undertaking a review of the election system Now is the time to make necessary changes to Australia electoral system and the way we count the vote.

The system that is currently in place is outdated and designed to facilitate a manual count. Analysis of the vote in the last State and Federal election has highlighted some of the inbuilt errors in the system. Whilst Steve Tully, Victoria's Electoral Commissioner, is in denial and avoidance mode about errors in the way he conducted the last State election the State Parliament continues to probe the facts behind the count that did not tally.

There is growing concern that the November Elections will create mass confusion and rebound on the State Government. At issue is the number of various representative models put in place by the Victorian Electoral Commission. The hybrid systems where there is a mix of multi-member and single member wards and those wards that will elect different number of councillors will all add to the confusion and dissent over the recent Municipal reforms.

The Introduction of proportional representation for Local Government was the correct policy, but its implementation and deployment by the Victorian Electoral Commission has not been effective or well managed.

There will be resentment and confusion over the fact that some Municipalities will have a postal voting system and other an attendance poll with both closing on different days. Postal votes elections will close earlier then attendance polls and without doubt many voters will front up on "Polling Day" and be told that they can not vote. There is no provision for absentee voting across Municipal boundaries and Postal vote elections will close on the Friday before the normal Saturday poll. (A better option would have been for postal votes to close on Election Day or if need be the Monday following "Election Day" so that voters are not unnecessarily disenfranchised)

Although most of these mistakes are due to poor administration and management in the VEC. In the end Iit is the State Government that will cop the flack and criticism for the system that has been put in place. A system that could have and should have been better managed in its design and implementation.

Prediction: The November poll will be the first main stumbling block for the State Government which if it is not properly address could be the down fall of what is otherwise a responsible and effective Government. The Chief Commissioner will come under review and his contract will not be renewed but this will be too late.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I know this is a super old post but I just wanted to let you know that I was one of those people who fronted up to vote on Sat in the Melbuorne City Council elections and realised taht I had to do a postal vote. For weeks prior to the election my house received a minimum of four campaign letters per day and I will admit to not opening them and missing the one from the VEC which held the postal votes. I have only voted once before in my life and fully intended on voting (and had been listening for weeks to media about the council elections), and was really mad to find out that Im now going to be stung $57. I know I am partially to blame but feel that the different voting methods in different councils definitely contributed to my confusion as I was under the mistaken impression that voting was the same as State and Federal elections. Damn.

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