New Zealand

Review after errors at 15 voting places

The Electoral Commission says it has found 15 voting places with “data entry errors” after an investigation by The New Zealand Herald highlighting the issue.

The commission’s board said it will also commission an independent review of the quality assurance processes to ensure the errors don’t occur again.

The chief electoral officer apologised for the mistakes, saying it was “disappointing they were not picked up in the quality assurance processes and falls short of our expectations.”

Today, the commission released its amended official results for the 2023 General Election, held on October 14.

“Checks of party, electorate and special votes have been completed and there are no changes to the overall results, successful candidates or allocation of seats,” it said.

One electorate where the data for a small number of special votes had also been entered incorrectly, while five voting places entered election day votes as advance voting. This did not affect the total numbers of votes for parties or candidates.

On Tuesday, the Electoral Commission said it was undertaking “a full check” after the Herald found hundreds of votes had been wrongly assigned to fringe parties, while the National Party had received none at some voting booths.

National’s party vote percentage rose slightly to 38.08 per cent on the amended results, the commission reported. Labour remained on 26.91 per cent, as did the Greens on 11.60 per cent.

Act remained the same with 8.64 per cent of the party vote, as did New Zealand First on 6.08 per cent and Te Pāti Māori on 3.08 per cent.

The commission said 620 votes in the East Coast electorate that were included in the preliminary count were not included in the official count.

“The votes were in a ballot box at the electorate headquarters and were missed during the official count. The votes have now been counted and added to the electorate totals,” the commission said in a statement.

The corrections have been made, resulting in 693 votes being added to the total number of party votes cast in the election. Candidate votes have increased by 708.

Total turnout remains unchanged at 78.2 per cent.

“None of these errors affect the electorates where judicial recounts are underway,” the commission said.

Judicial recounts are to be held in the Nelson, Mt Albert and Tāmaki Makaurau electorates.

Chief electoral officer Karl Le Quesne said there are quality assurance steps across the counting, data entry and reporting processes that have been applied.

“People should have confidence in the integrity of the official count and the amended results.

“We have corrected the errors found. These are small in scale and do not affect the overall results or allocation of seats. We apologise for these errors. It is disappointing they were not picked up in the quality assurance processes and falls short of our expectations.”

Acting board chair Jane Meares said the Electoral Commission board will commission an independent review of the quality assurance processes in place and what improvements can be made to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

The Herald’s investigation found at the Pukekohe Intermediate voting station in the Port Waikato electorate, 505 votes were incorrectly assigned to the Leighton Baker Party when they should have gone to National.

At the electorate’s Karaka Pavilion at the NZ Bloodstock Centre, 15 votes went to the New Conservatives when the ballots were for National.

In Ilam, at the Wolfbrook Arena in Addington, National was recorded as receiving zero votes when they should have had 18. This error also affected the recorded vote for seven more parties.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button