“A national election involves the casting of over 13 million voters for each house, which are handled by short-term employees following procedures carefully prescribed by legislation. Easy as it may be for the armchair critic to insist that this vast logistical exercise be conducted without any hitches, a certain rate of error is inevitable.”
So says our Poll Bludger, who reckons any notion of incompetence by the Australian Electoral Commission — for, err, misplacing 1375 Senate ballot papers in Western Australia — is undeserved.
Perhaps that’s too kind; there’s no doubt this one was buggered up — badly — and the AEC needs to examine whether its systems across the country are up the scratch. Electronic voting is probably “inevitable”, an apologetic AEC commissioner Ed Killesteyn said on Radio National this morning, but the cost and logistics of that push it out to the long-term.
And before then, as William Bowe argues, “rather than respond to the present fiasco by launching an inquisition against the AEC, which in most respects serves as an example for the rest of the world to follow, the focus should be on giving it a simpler and more logical job to do”. That is, the mess of preference rigging — highlighted in stark fashion by a slew of minor parties this election — that so complicates counting and puts undeserving candidates into Parliament.
There’s only one thing that will make voters more angry than having to vote again — getting an MP nobody wanted.