Australia's Electoral Commission Is Set To Declare A Senate Result In WA And Then Challenge It In Court

The High Court of Australia

Update: The results of the ballot have been officially declared by Electoral Officer Peter Kramer.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is now considering whether the commission itself should take the spoiled Western Australian Senate election result to the High Court.

This puts the commission in the bizarre situation of challenging an election it managed and the results of a recount it declared, albeit a recount without 1,375 missing ballots.

The first count was very close with the distribution of preferences turning on 14 votes.

Commissioner Ed Killesteyn says the commission will in the coming weeks make an assessment on whether to take the result to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.

Part of that process would be to determine the preference flow of the missing 1,375 ballots of which 1,255 were considered formal votes during the first count.

“I am not going to speculate about what the court will do,” Killesteyn told ABC radio.

Killesteyn has apologised for the lose of the ballots, saying nearly 1,400 Western Australian electors have been disenfranchised.

“We’re left with a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt about the outcome of the West Australian Senate election,” he says.

The electoral commission is legally obliged to officially declare the results of the ballot.

On the recount, the final two of six Senate spots went to Wayne Dopulich of the Australian Sports Party and Scott Ludlum of the Greens.

The first count had give the final two places to Palmer United Party’s Zhenya (Dio) Wang and Labor senator Louise Pratt.

“This is really now a matter that has to be dealt with in the courts,” Mr Killesteyn says.

Both Labor and Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party indicate they will protest against the result.

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