local government

Alice Springs Mayor’s Two Vote Victory shows why Scrutineers Matter

While electoral officials will not always admit it, scrutineers play an important role in the transparency of elections.

Scrutineers are appointed by candidates as their representatives in observing the count. Scrutineers have the right to check the administrative paper work for the count, to observe all ballot papers as they are counted, to observe the checking of declaration envelopes, to challenge votes and request disputed ballot papers be tagged for adjudication. And they also play a role in spotting errors by counting staff.

If they represent one of the final candidates in the race, scrutineers perform another informal role on behalf of their candidate. Preferential voting means scrutineers want to closely observe ballot papers cast for lower polling candidates who will be excluded from the count. Scrutineers try to tally the destination preferences from these ballot papers, the flows of preferences to the final two candidates in the contest.

Since Electoral Commissions began to conduct indicative preference counts on election night, preference tallying by scrutineers has become less important. Now there are official counts that help parties know the close contests on election night. With this knowledge, the best scrutineers can be sent to the tightest counts for the post-election check count.

But what if there is no official preference count, and scrutineers don’t attend to do their two-candidate preferred estimates?

Exactly that happened in last month’s contest for Alice Springs Lord Mayor. One candidate was well ahead on first preferences. With no indicative preference count, and with no scrutineers doing their own preference counts, it wasn’t until the distribution of preferences that the leading candidate discovered he had been defeated.Read More »Alice Springs Mayor’s Two Vote Victory shows why Scrutineers Matter

Final Analysis of the 2020 Brisbane City Council Elections

Counting for the Brisbane City Council’s election is now complete (barring some minor tidy ups), so it’s time for a statistical analysis of the results.

In brief the election produced little change. All 26 wards and the Lord Mayoral contest were won by the same party as in 2016. After replacing Graham Quirk as Lord Mayor last year, Adrian Schrinner was easily re-elected with 56.3% after preferences, a 3.2% swing against him.

The new council has only two changes of membership with the LNP’s Sarah Hutton succeeding Matthew Bourke in Jamboree, and the LNP’s Greg Adermann defeating LNP turned Independent councillor Kate Richards in Pullenvale.

You can find results for all contests at the ABC election website. In this post I will concentrate on the overall picture.

(UPDATE – slight adjustments to include final figures in Calamvale, Hamilton and in the Lord Mayoral race)

(HINT: If you are reading this on a mobile phone, the tables and graphs are infinitely better if you turn your phone sideways.)
Read More »Final Analysis of the 2020 Brisbane City Council Elections