Electoral Amendment Act 2002

67 New sections 174 to 174G substituted
  • (1) The principal Act is amended by repealing section 174, and substituting the following sections:

    174 Preliminary count of votes cast in polling place
    • (1) The manager of every polling place must, as soon as practicable after the close of the poll, in the presence of any scrutineers (including those lawfully in the polling place under any other Act) and the polling place officials, but of no other person, arrange for a preliminary count of the votes to be conducted in accordance with this section.

      (2) For the purposes of the preliminary count, all ballot papers must be taken from the ballot boxes to ascertain, as the case may require,—

      • (a) the number of votes received by each party listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the party vote; or

      • (b) the number of votes received by each candidate listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the electorate vote; or

      • (c) both.

      (3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the following votes must be set aside as informal:

      • (a) any party votes that do not clearly indicate the party for which the voter desired to vote:

      • (b) any electorate votes that do not clearly indicate the candidate for whom the voter desired to vote.

      (4) As soon as possible after ascertaining a result of the voting, the manager must ensure that the result is reported to the Returning Officer.

      (5) If a referendum has, under any Act, been taken with the poll, the manager must ensure that the preliminary count of the party votes and the electorate votes, and the reports under subsection (4) take priority over the counting of the votes of the referendum.

    174A Ballot papers, etc, to be compiled, certified, and sent to Returning Officer
    • (1) After completing the preliminary count under section 174, the manager of the polling place must—

      • (a) ensure that the following documents are enclosed in 1 or more parcels:

        • (i) the used ballot papers:

        • (ii) the ballot papers set aside under section 171:

        • (iii) the certified copies of the main roll and supplementary rolls that have been marked by issuing officers to indicate the persons who applied to vote:

        • (iv) all the counterfoils of ballot papers that have been issued to voters and all the unused ballot papers:

        • (v) all the spoilt ballot papers; and

      • (b) ensure that each parcel is properly secured and endorsed with a description of its contents, the name of the district, the name or other identifier of the polling place, and the date of the polling; and

      • (c) ensure that 1 or more certificates are prepared that certify—

        • (i) the number of votes received by each party (if applicable):

        • (ii) the number of votes received by each candidate (if applicable):

        • (iii) the number of informal party votes:

        • (iv) the number of informal electorate votes:

        • (v) the number of ballot papers set aside under section 171:

        • (vi) the number of spoilt ballot papers:

        • (vii) the number of ballot papers issued to special voters:

        • (viii) the number of unused ballot papers:

        • (ix) the total number of ballot papers allocated for use at the polling place; and

      • (d) sign, and invite each scrutineer who is present to sign, every endorsement prepared under paragraph (b) and every certificate prepared under paragraph (c).

      (2) The manager must ensure that all parcels mentioned in this section are sent to the Returning Officer without delay.

      (3) This section does not prevent any of the documents referred to in subparagraphs (ii) to (v) of subsection (1)(a) from being placed in 1 or more parcels before the preliminary count under section 174 has commenced or while it is in progress.

    174B No preliminary count if fewer than 6 ordinary ballot papers issued
    • (1) If, at any election, the number of ordinary ballot papers issued for a district at a polling place is smaller than 6, the manager of the polling place must, after the close of the poll, arrange for the secure dispatch of those ballot papers to the Returning Officer for the district.

      (2) This section overrides sections 174 and 174A.

    174C Preliminary count of early votes
    • (1) In this section and in sections 174D to 174G, early votes means special votes that—

      • (a) are delivered or sent to the Returning Officer on or before polling day; and

      • (b) were, in accordance with regulations made under this Act, issued in substantially the same manner as ordinary ballot papers are issued under section 167.

      (2) The Returning Officer must, in the presence of any scrutineers appointed under section 174F and any of the Returning Officer's assistants, but of no other person, conduct, in accordance with this section, a preliminary count of early votes.

      (3) The Returning Officer must take the early votes and ascertain, as the case may require,—

      • (a) the number of votes received by each party listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the party vote; or

      • (b) the number of votes received by each candidate listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the electorate vote; or

      • (c) both.

      (4) For the purposes of subsection (3), the Returning Officer must set aside as informal—

      • (a) all party votes that do not clearly indicate the party for which the voter desired to vote:

      • (b) all electorate votes that do not clearly indicate the candidate for whom the voter desired to vote.

      (5) A count under this section must be commenced,—

      • (a) if the conditions stated in section 174D(2) apply, as soon as practicable after 3 pm on polling day; or

      • (b) if those conditions do not apply, as soon as practicable after the close of the poll.

      (6) If a referendum has, under any Act, been taken with the poll, the Returning Officer must ensure that the count, under this section, of party votes and electorate votes takes priority over the counting of the votes of the referendum.

    174D Conditions for counting early votes before close of poll
    • (1) In this section and in sections 174E to 174G, restricted area means an area, in the office of the Returning Officer, that—

      • (a) is designated by the Returning Officer for the purpose of the count of early votes; and

      • (b) has features that—

        • (i) preclude persons who are not in the area from seeing or hearing any aspect of the count; and

        • (ii) permit the Returning Officer to control persons who wish to enter or leave the area.

      (2) The conditions referred to in section 174C(5)(a) are as follows:

      • (a) the Chief Electoral Officer has authorised the Returning Officer to commence the count before the close of the poll:

      • (b) the count is to be conducted in a restricted area:

      • (c) on every entrance to the restricted area there is a notice stating that it is an offence, without the express authorisation of the Returning Officer, to enter the area:

      • (d) on every exit from the restricted area there is a notice stating that it is an offence, without the express authorisation of the Returning Officer, to leave the area.

    174E Maintenance of secrecy of count of early votes
    • (1) On polling day, no person (other than a scrutineer appointed under section 174F) may, without the express authorisation of the Returning Officer, enter a restricted area.

      (2) On polling day, a person who enters, whether with or without authorisation, a restricted area may not leave the area before the close of the poll without the express authorisation of the Returning Officer.

      (3) The Chief Electoral Officer may issue instructions to Returning Officers setting further requirements for the purpose of maintaining the secrecy of counts conducted before the close of the poll.

      (4) The Returning Officer must ensure that all persons who take part in the counts conducted before the close of the poll are familiar with any instructions issued under subsection (3), and the Returning Officer and those persons must comply with those instructions.

    174F Scrutineers for count of early votes
    • (1) Each constituency candidate may appoint a scrutineer to attend at the count of early votes conducted under section 174C.

      (2) Every appointment of a scrutineer—

      • (a) must be in writing; and

      • (b) must be signed by the constituency candidate.

      (3) Every scrutineer must, before being allowed to attend at the count, make a declaration in form 1 before the Returning Officer or a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor.

      (4) If the count is conducted before the close of the poll, every scrutineer appointed under this section may enter and be present in the restricted area from 2.30 pm on polling day until the conclusion of the count.

      (5) No scrutineer may, before the close of the poll, enter a restricted area with a device that enables information to be conveyed to a person or machine outside the area.

      (6) If a scrutineer fails to comply with subsection (5) or an instruction issued under section 174E(3) and communicated to the scrutineer, the Returning Officer may—

      • (a) refuse to allow the scrutineer to enter the restricted area; or

      • (b) require the scrutineer to leave the restricted area.

    174G Offences in relation to count of early votes conducted before close of poll
    • (1) Every person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 who,—

      • (a) not being a scrutineer appointed under section 174F, enters, on polling day, a restricted area without the express authorisation of the Returning Officer; or

      • (b) being a scrutineer appointed under section 174F, enters, on polling day, a restricted area with a device that enables information to be conveyed to a person or machine outside the area; or

      • (c) leaves, on polling day, a restricted area without the express authorisation of the Returning Officer.

      (2) Every person commits an offence and is guilty of a corrupt practice who, being or having been in a restricted area, discloses, before the close of the poll, to any person outside the area any information about the results of a count of early votes conducted under section 174C.

    (2) Section 53 of the Electoral Amendment Act (No 2) 1995 is consequentially repealed.