Monday, November 17, 2008

Is the Chief Electoral Officer breaking the law?

DPF notes that a change in the way we're releasing the results this election:

Unlike previous years, the Chief Electoral Officer will not be releasing the final count (including specials) progressively as each electorate is finalised. They will all be released this Saturday.
However, this may not be consistent with the Electoral Act. Section 179 (2) states:
As soon as practicable after receiving from a Returning Officer the information specified in subsection (1) [the results of the count for a particular electorate], the Chief Electoral Officer must declare the results of the official count for the district concerned by publishing in the Gazette a notice in form 14.
The clear intent here is for progressive, immediate reporting of results by electorate as they come in (hence the practice in past years). This is bound by practicalities - but there seems to be no reason why the release of the results should be delayed, other than a desire for tidiness in the final party vote totals. And I'm not sure that that's good enough.