The City of Swan election count will continue on Thursday after discrepancies in the processing of preferences led to the mayoral count starting from scratch for a third time.
The City expected the vote count to take two days – longer than usual because of the introduction of optional preferential voting and a popularly elected Mayor.
However, as of Wednesday afternoon, there were still no results declared for the eight positions up for election.
The City appointed the Western Australian Electoral Commission to run the election at a cost of $524,000.
It has received assurances that ratepayers will not bear any of the extra costs associated with these delays.
On Tuesday, the WAEC ordered a recount of the City’s mayoral vote and allocated extra resources to speed up the process.
After fresh concerns about counting discrepancies on Wednesday, the City agreed to a WAEC proposal to restart the mayoral count once more, this time using electronic verification.
WA Electoral Commissioner Robert Kennedy said he hoped the mayoral election would be finalised on Thursday.
“The Commission’s focus at this time is ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the election result as quickly as possible,” Mr Kennedy said.
“To this end, additional computer resources and personnel have been deployed to the count and the count will continue into Wednesday evening.
“The ratepayers of the City of Swan will not incur any of these additional costs arising from this election.”
Based on the progress of previous counts, the two leaders in the mayoral race are Ian Johnson and Tanya Richardson.
Results in three wards – Pearce, Midland/Guildford and Swan Valley/Gidgegannup – cannot be declared until that count is completed because there are mayoral candidates in play.
Preliminary results in Altone and Whiteman wards are awaiting declaration.
The City had scheduled a Special Council Meeting for Tuesday, October 24 for the swearing-in of the new Council Members and the election of a Deputy Mayor.
That meeting has been postponed until Monday, October 30.
Stephen Cain, City of Swan CEO, said he shared the community’s disappointment and frustration about the delays.
However, he said the focus was on ensuring the accuracy of the final count.
“The City and its electors need to be able to have confidence in the integrity of the results,” Mr Cain said.
“The electronic process will take until at least Thursday night, but it is designed to reduce the risk of human error in the preference distributions.”
While the count had not been as efficient as the community expected, Mr Cain said he was buoyed by an increase in the voter turnout.
“We are all looking forward to welcoming our new Mayor and Council Members,” he said.
“The City is entering an exciting period of renewal and growth and these are the people who will set our strategic direction.”