Election 2019: Senate ballot paper confuses Pesec voters

Genevieve Jacobs 18 May 2019 56

Independent Senate candidate Anthony Pesec casting g his vote today at Ngunnawal Primary School. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Voters who intended to cast a vote for independent Anthony Pesec says there’s been confusion over where and how his name appeared on the Senate ballot paper today.

“Well even if I’d wanted to vote for Anthony Pesec it wasn’t possible,” one RiotACT reader mentioned. “He wasn’t on the ballot. I voted early on 10 May in Woden and was dutifully numbering the boxes on the Senate ballot as per the flyer of my party of choice.

“Box C which apparently should have had his name was blank. No name was printed at all. For fear of a donkey vote, I didn’t put a number in that box at all. I thought he must have withdrawn and then saw his signs on the way out.”

Region Media spoke with the Pesec camp about the Senate ballot papers. Number two Pesec candidate Gary Kent (formerly the long-serving ACT Liberal Party president) said that the ballots had been printed correctly albeit in a way that could be difficult for voters to interpret.

“We are not a party according to the rules of the Australian Electoral Commission so our name could not appear in that space,” Mr Kent said. “Both names are printed below the line so voters could choose to either tick the top box or vote for us individually below the line.”

Mr Kent said his team had reports that some voters were being told they could not vote for Mr Pesec above the line, but they had been in contact with the AEC to clarify the situation with polling booth workers. He conceded that this could have been a negative for Mr Pesec.

“A vote above or below the line is valid,” Mr Kent said. He added that there had been positive reports about votes for Mr Pesec from a number of booths.

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56 Responses to Election 2019: Senate ballot paper confuses Pesec voters
William Straw William Straw 9:02 am 24 May 19

My wife and I asked about the blank box and were specifically told NOT to put a number in it. I wouldn’t have voted for him anyway, but that was clearly incorrect information and bad advice from the volunteer who provided us our ballots.
We cast our vote at the voting booths at lake Tuggeranong college.

Bec Veness Bec Veness 1:30 pm 22 May 19

Dani Faith this should put your minds at ease

    Dani Curcio Dani Curcio 1:33 pm 22 May 19

    Bec Veness the problem was people didn't vote for him at all because of it! ☹

    Bec Veness Bec Veness 1:39 pm 22 May 19

    Dani Curcio wow. That’s horrible.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:50 pm 22 May 19

    Shame, but they could have voted below the line, which is easy.

Narelle Hoy Narelle Hoy 7:18 pm 20 May 19

I had to ask for clarification on wether to mark the empty box & lots of people were also confused but didn't like to ask. Big Mistake !!

Jane Pearce Jane Pearce 9:00 am 20 May 19

Bella Clogstoun... the ‘answer’ to the confusing riddle of the blank box C on the voting form. How weird! 🗳

Shell Sochacki Shell Sochacki 9:25 pm 19 May 19

Sarah Fordham-Young this happened to me! That’s why I ended up with sustainable Australia 😬

    Sarah Fordham-Young Sarah Fordham-Young 9:28 pm 19 May 19

    Michelle Sochacki they're a tricky lot! We'll know for next time ;)

Lisa Nichols Lisa Nichols 6:22 pm 19 May 19

I laughed at that blank box and thought "I bet that candidate could do better than the others" 😎

James Ellis James Ellis 6:18 pm 19 May 19

A number in their box still counted.

James Ellis James Ellis 6:16 pm 19 May 19

It was still group C ... but as they aren’t a registered group they didn’t get a name.

Sonya Oskam Sonya Oskam 8:58 am 19 May 19

Cameron Oskam! See it wasn’t only me 🙈

Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:21 am 19 May 19

This issue appears to have only confused the few people who voted for him – he was never a real challenger.

Andrew B. Carfrae Andrew B. Carfrae 7:03 am 19 May 19

That really was confusing

Alby James Alby James 5:56 am 19 May 19

No how to vote cards at Narrabundah

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:21 am 19 May 19

    There was, when I visited. Didn't take any though, as I prefer to think for myself.

    Alby James Alby James 11:22 am 19 May 19

    I went looking for one we looked everywhere

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:00 pm 19 May 19

    What sort of how to vote cards are you talking about? The candidates' volunteers were there in force trying to get me to take their how to votes. Didn't though, because I had done what everyone should have done before arriving; researched the candidates and the rules for voting. A bit late once a person gets to the polling booth.

    Alby James Alby James 3:46 am 20 May 19

    Julie Macklin the how to vote cards that are handed out y the volunteers! There was no Peesec how to vote cards

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:44 pm 20 May 19

    Alby James So...if you had done some research before getting to the polling booth, you would know that he said after voting for him (and I presume his off-sider) then YOU choose who you vote for next. I knew that. I used the internet! Do research; decide for yourself who YOU vote for. Don't follow anyone's how to vote. I don't. Make up your own mind; not what others tell you.

    Alby James Alby James 6:58 pm 20 May 19

    Julie Macklin thanks for the advice guru vote persons

Giles Tranter Giles Tranter 3:39 am 19 May 19

If you thought that confused voters, after it had been the layout for the past 3wks, then you both don't understand how the system works and also failed to communicate to your potential voters. The ballot paper was absolutely laid out correctly

Bee Haych Bee Haych 2:03 am 19 May 19

I voted in the box above pesec on the belief that it was a vote for him and some other Goober. You mean it wasn't?

    James Daniels James Daniels 8:25 am 19 May 19

    That box was supposed to be there so your vote was formal unless there was some other problem with it.

Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 1:40 am 19 May 19

I didn’t have any issue, Pesec was a grouped independent. Obviously he decided to run this way to get an above the line option.

Peter Ellis Peter Ellis 1:32 am 19 May 19

Put numbers BELOW the line.......

Anna Francesca Clancy Anna Francesca Clancy 1:22 am 19 May 19

That’s outrageous if it means my vote voided. I just followed voting party advice assuming that box was him & printing issue ... I mean come on, you can’t have a nameless box on a voting Sheet.Maybe there needs to be a recount?

    Jules Maree Jurak Jules Maree Jurak 6:04 am 19 May 19

    Anna Francesca Clancy what a riot‼️ it just proves what’s ahead. Empty promises

    James Daniels James Daniels 8:27 am 19 May 19

    Anna, if you followed your party's how to vote and put a number in that box your vote was fine.

    Anna Francesca Clancy Anna Francesca Clancy 8:58 am 19 May 19

    James Daniels that’s good news but I wonder how many people got confused and stuffed up their vote

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 9:03 am 19 May 19

    It takes 15 AT MOST to learn how our ballot papers work, and do some practice ones online.

    Put some effort to learn what is a civic responsibility.

    The rules haven’t changed for those boxes, it’s happened before.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:19 am 19 May 19

    Why are you following a party's voting advice? You should think for yourself. I don't follow any party's advice.

    Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 12:20 pm 19 May 19

    Leigh Brady The rules have changed, actually. You now have the opption of 6+ above the line or 12+ below.

    Anna Francesca Clancy Anna Francesca Clancy 1:58 pm 19 May 19

    Julie Macklin unless you know where all the party preferences are going esp the minor parties, it can backfire on you. I wanted to make sure my preferences didn’t go to the worst of the nit job smaller parties. I did mix it up a little though.

Dean E Turner Dean E Turner 12:18 am 19 May 19

Why did we have to number up to 12 when there was clearly insufficient worthy candidates?

    Nicolas Borgeaud Nicolas Borgeaud 7:50 am 19 May 19

    Dean E Turner that was infuriating for me, numbered my first 5, no others deserved votes after that point, felt dirty having to do it

    James Daniels James Daniels 8:30 am 19 May 19

    The AEC doesn't advertise senate vote saving provisions but as long as a box above the line has a clearly idenitifed 1st preference its a valid vote. When voting under the line, there need to be at least 6 boxes numered consecutively for a vote to be valid even though the instructions say to number at least 12.

Roderick Saunders Roderick Saunders 10:25 pm 18 May 19

Another reason to vote below the line

Deb Meuronen Deb Meuronen 10:17 pm 18 May 19

If it was an error then The AEC attendant should have told people when they got their name signed off

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 9:05 am 19 May 19

    there was no error. Just lazy people who don’t put in any effort to understand our voting system and ballots.

    Dani Curcio Dani Curcio 1:40 pm 22 May 19

    Leigh Brady calm down - people aren't lazy if they didn't understand- there are plenty of people who did their research on the candidates and knew who to vote for, but who didn't understand what was going on with the blank space. If the bloody people working the booths had no idea (ie several of them when I asked for clarification) then you can't expect everyone else to be all over it either. It should be a lot clearer for everyone

    Chris Newman Chris Newman 4:07 pm 22 May 19

    Leigh Brady. There was also problems in Eden Monaro electorate with changes from the previous federal election in senate voting, as well as just having a state election prior to it with different rules for voting above the line. This was even acknowledged by Mike Kelly on radio, with a large proportion of informal votes because of the changes and AEC staff not informing of this.


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