18 May 2019

Election 2019: Senate ballot paper confuses Pesec voters

| Genevieve Jacobs
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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 I thought he must have withdrawn and then saw his signs on the way out.”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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William Straw9:02 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.

Capital Retro7:21 am 19 May 19

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

Tommy Southern10:04 pm 18 May 19

I was very confused not seeing Pesec’s name. The couple of other people I spoke to said they got told you couldn’t put a number in it. Surely this would have caught a lot of people out?

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