An issue surrounding the collection and count of a package of ballot papers for the Moorabool Shire Council’s election has been put to bed.
Victorian Electoral Commission spokesperson Mike Lagastes confirmed that 446 additional ballot papers – 419 formal and 27 informal – had been sorted on Wednesday following a complaint from former mayor Allan Comrie, who was sensationally ousted despite securing the most first preference votes in the East Moorabool ward.
Mr Comrie’s complaints were based on concerns that votes were not counted due to postal delays, meaning potential fines for voters who had done nothing wrong.
However, following the conclusion of Wednesday’s count, he said he was happy with the process and believed it had been done “above board”.
“My concern mainly was that people in good faith posted those letters were going to get fined,” he said.
“A lot of people just don’t realise that Bacchus Marsh mail goes to the Dandenong sorting office first.
“I didn't expect that it was going to make a difference to the vote (for the East Moorabool ward) and I think I put enough pressure on the VEC that I'm pretty sure (it was the right outcome).”
On Monday the VEC confirmed it was conducting a routine review on the the results to ensure the integrity of the count prior to declaration, before announcing on Tuesday that it would continue counting votes after it found a parcel of returned ballot paper envelopes that were incorrectly marked as late returns.
The added votes did not change the outcome of the election, however, the order of successful candidates in the East Moorabool ward changed, with Tonia Dudzik the first successful, followed by Jarrod Bingham, David Edwards and John Keough.
A Moorabool shire electorate official said there was no need for a re-election in the shire when contacted by The Courier on Wednesday.
The declaration for the councillors will take place on Friday.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.