Vote recounts aren't as simple as they seem

Anthony Fels writes: Re. "WA Senate drama: ballot-box anomalies boost Ludlam’s fight" (Friday). It is more usual that the AEC will conduct a recount if there is any possibility that "parcels" of votes are not counted correctly. They probably have done this on a case-by-case basis for each polling place already, and reconciled this to the ballots issued at every individual booth. Any discrepancies must be raised at the time by the scrutineer for the candidate. The issues now being raised by [WA Senator] Scott Ludlam, if they have already been considered by the AEC, (which they have), and the AEC proceeded to the final count, (which they did); can be appealed only to the Court of Disputed Returns. The AEC is obliged under the Commonwealth Electoral Act to declare the result as soon as possible after the count. In their written request, the Greens did not identify any discrepancy in the counting process, only that the result was very close. The issues now raised cannot be raised after the count, only during the count. The only issues that can be raised now are if the count has not been added up correctly -- ie. if there is an error in the arithmetic.