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Progress on election process audit count

Progress on election process audit, count and declarations

Final results for three local elections affected by the vote processing problems have now been declared. Kapiti Coast District and the Chatham Islands Territory are the latest to be declared. The Kapiti Coast vote declaration followed a qualified assurance from the Office of the Auditor-General. The Kapiti Coast audit was qualified in respect of two votes but this could not have affected the outcome. The Electoral Officer for Chatham Islands Territory did not require Auditor-General assurance before declaration.

Work is continuing by the companies involved and auditors on the remaining Council and DHB elections. Four Council and 18 DHB election results have still to be declared. All Council votes have now been processed to the first point where final checks can be done.

It is unusual, probably unique, for voting in New Zealand to be subject to audit before final declaration. For this reason it is not possible to compare the time taken in processing these votes to the time taken in other elections, and to predict how long the process will take. The length of time taken depends on the issues identified. Everyone involved continues to be committed to getting full and complete results out as soon as possible.

Internal Affairs Communications Manager Colin Feslier says the Electoral Officers waiting for STV results wish to benefit from the same level of audit assurance provided to Wellington and Kapiti Coast.

“They will be able to provide a high level of assurance about the final results, despite the problem in vote processing”.

The Justice and Electoral Committee of Parliament has resolved to initiate an inquiry into the 2004 local authority elections which will include assessment and analysis of:

• the Local Electoral Act 2001 and regulations
• participation and voter turnout
• electoral systems
• voting and counting methods and processes
• any other relevant matters.

Full terms of reference will be released and submissions called for once the 2004 local authority election process has been completed. The Committee carried out a similar review following the 2001 local elections.

• Requests for background information or news of progress can be made to Internal Affairs at any time.

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