Australian Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn has lost 1375 votes in the WA Senate election and doesn't expect to find them. "The gravity of the situation is not lost on me" he said. "We're left with a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt about the outcome of the Western Australian Senate election."
He said he had no choice but to declare the result of a recount yesterday, even though he was unable to find the missing votes. Now Green Senator Scott Ludlam and Australian Sports Party Wayne Dropulich are in, and Labor's Louise Pratt and Palmer United Party's Zhenya "Dio" Wang are out.
Understandably, Clive Palmer has gone ballistic and challenged the result.
Mr Killesteyn said the AEC has good controls, but it's clear that he doesn't. It's hard to believe that pencil is still being used to nominate our preferred candidate on the ballot paper and it's still easy to vote multiple times. The system is far too trusting. Pencil can be erased and they actually trust you when you say you haven't voted somewhere else.
The obvious answer is electronic voting but it's not as straightforward as one might think. The Netherlands tried it for many years but there were so many security problems with the machines, they banned them in 2007.
It's likely that the people of WA will have to go back to the polls and some may have changed their minds. If the High Court orders a new election, the electorate has 52 registered parties and umpteen independents to choose from.
What an absolute mess.