Doug Shave

Doug Shave

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    Easier voting and faster counting for State elections

    14/06/2000 1:14 PM
     
    14/6/00

    Faster vote counting, greater voting convenience, and streamlined registration of political parties are among proposed changes to the Electoral Act introduced into Parliament by Parliamentary and Electoral Affairs Minister Doug Shave.

    “The amendments are designed to keep pace with lifestyle changes and to maintain transparency in the electoral process,” Mr Shave said.

    “The changes are based on recommendations of the Western Australian Electoral Commission to ensure elections continue to be conducted efficiently and that results are known as soon as possible.”

    Absentee Voting

    Until now people have had to cast an absentee vote if voting outside their electorate and complete a declaration form. Absentee votes were not counted on election night but in the following week.

    “Our mobile lifestyle means that on an election Saturday many people will be away from home taking a break, playing sport or working,” Mr Shave said.

    “We want to make it as easy as possible for them to vote and to have their vote counted quickly.”

    Metropolitan polling places that issue many absentee ballots would have electoral rolls for the whole State to allow out-of-electorate voters to cast an ordinary vote which can then be counted on election night.

    Checking early votes

    Early postal and pre-poll votes could now be checked from the Wednesday before election day. Until now they have not been opened until election day.

    “There is a lot of interest in election results and this change means more early votes can be counted soon after the polls close on election night,” Mr Shave said.

    After checking and validation, ballot papers will be removed from their envelopes without inspection, as in Local Government postal elections. They will be kept in sealed ballot boxes that will be opened at the close of polls and counted immediately.

    Registration of Political Parties

    A registration process for political parties is proposed.

    “All parties now represented in Parliament and any other groups with at least 500 members who are enrolled WA voters could register for listing as a party on ballot papers,” Mr Shave said.

    “The 500-member requirement is designed to demonstrate that a group is a bona-fide party and to maintain transparency in the electoral process.”

    The proposed registration system would not have any effect on the rights of independents to stand for election.

    At present the Electoral Commission cannot approve use of party names until an election date has been announced and the campaign is under way.

    Registration would assist parties because the Commission would be able to assess applications and party names at any time, check membership and discuss any problems before an election is called.

    “This means parties can prepare campaign material confident they are correctly registered,” Mr Shave said.

    “Registration requirements will also give the Electoral Commissioner more scope to ensure all parties comply with campaign finance legislation.”

    Media Contacts:
    John Clune (Minister’s Office) 9213 6500
    Fiona Colbeck (A/g Electoral Commissioner) 9214 0400