Alex Staines, councillor candidate 2016
Alex Staines, councillor candidate 2016

LISTEN | 9th placed Alex Staines doubts count accuracy

THE Man who narrowly missed out on a spot around the council table isn't calling for a recount - yet.

However Alex Staines, who trails Kahn Goodluck by just 72 votes, has expressed doubt in the accuracy of the counting system based on technical issues and an increase in informal votes.

>> LISTEN | Staines suffers family loss in 'emotional' campaign

He says Electoral Commission Queensland should conduct a recount, without being asked.

Kahn Goodluck, who landed the eighth spot on the council, just wants the process to be over following what he called "a long Easter Weekend". 

It has taken eleven days for the final results to be released after Gladstone was used as one of five regions trialling a new counting system.
The electoral commission has admitted there were issues in each area and folded ballot papers caused delays in the Gladstone office.

In previous interviews with media, the electoral commission stood by its new system which was trialled for six months before being implemented.

Mr Staines, however, says he's surprised the ECQ hasn't already started a manual recount.

"There is cause for some discomfort around the accuracy of the numbers based on the technical difficulties that have been faced," Mr Staines said.

"A trial is a trial and you still have to have a base way to measure the success of that trial.

"I as a tax payer want to see a manual count conducted that would validate the scanning system process."

Mr Staines doubts are largely based on the increase in informal, or invalid, ballot papers.

In 2012 there were 2478 informal ballots in the councillor vote with 35,895 people enrolled, according to the ECQ's figures.

This year at 40,522, there were 4627 more people enrolled to vote in the Gladstone Regional Council area; and informal votes increased by 1010 to 3488 ballots.

Within those was a stark increase in informal ballots during pre-polling from 359 in 2012, to 889 this year.

Mr Staines says he is considering the possibility of requesting for a recount, which won't necessarily be accepted by the electoral commission.

"I will have to consider my options," he said.

"I will take some counsel from people who know more about it but I was hoping the ECQ would make those decisions themselves."

There have already been three recounts since the March 19 election at; Tablelands, the Scenic Rim and, Croydon Shire where there was a dead lock between two candidates who polled equal numbers.

In Tablelands and Scenic Rim two candidates were within three votes of each other and while closeness was a factor in the decision to recount - it's not the defining factor.
An ECQ spokesperson said there was "no set list of factors that are considered relevant or irrelevant" in deciding on a recount.  

The Observer contacted the ECQ for comment on a possible recount for the Gladstone Regional Council councillor election, but has not yet received a response.