Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Home News Independent candidate Anthony Pesec said voters had received incorrect instructions to vote

Independent candidate Anthony Pesec said voters had received incorrect instructions to vote

Anthony Pesec, an independent candidate for the Senate, has accused the members of the Australian Electoral Commission of giving the wrong information to the electorate, which had an impact on the number of votes he received on Saturday.

Mr. Pesec served in the Senate as an independent colleague of Gary Kent, which meant that the box above the line had no name, but could still be numbered.

Anthony Pesec ran in the Senate and received about five percent of the vote. Image: Jamila Toderas

Anthony Pesec ran in the Senate and received about five percent of the vote. Image: Jamila Toderas

Mr Pesec said some voters told him that they had been falsely told they could not number the box, some said he was out of the election and some said they did not know how to vote for him.

His campaign team contacted the commission on Saturday morning, after which a message was sent to the voting booth staff asking them to give the correct directions when they asked for the box.

"We received some feedback from the voters who were asked to leave the field empty, and at that moment we realized that we had a big problem," Pesec said.

"There was confusion about being allowed to put a number in this box."

An occasional member of the electoral commission working on Election Day told The Canberra Times Employees were not told how to answer empty-box questions, and these questions were asked by every fourth to fifth voter.

The employee said she did not remember a message with new instructions to tell people about the empty box.

The employee stated that she had now believed that after copying the instructions that other colleagues gave to voters, they had issued false information.

According to Pesec, the Technical Commissars have noticed that many ballots between one and six are above the line, leaving all their boxes empty. While the way Senate Independents are treated is the same across the country, Mr. Pesec believes that there are only seven columns in ACT.

Originally not intending to print voting cards for people to dictate their own preferences, Pesec said his campaign had decided to print the cards after finding that there was confusion in the pre-election.

Mr Pesec said he had to wait until the Senate's ballots had been counted to see if the instructions had a clear effect.

If unusual voting results were obtained at certain polling stations or if the votes above or below the line for his ticket differed significantly, this could indicate the impact.

Mr Pesec said that he would make a submission to the parliamentary committee on electoral matters to carry out a regular review of the elections.

"Being a non-party member is hard enough," he said.

Election Commission spokesman Evan Ekin-Smyth said the commission is considering the issue and will answer Mr Pesec.

"We can only interpret the ballot in accordance with the electoral code and instructions," he said.

"When somebody finally thinks there is a problem that needs to be changed, it's not up to the AEC to change it, it's up to Parliament."

Mr. Ekin-Smyth said the electoral commission had received no complaints about instructions other than Mr. Pesec.

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