Cowper candidates question missing ballot papers
INDEPEDENT candidate Rob Oakeshott and Greens candidate Carol Vernon have lodged complaints with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) after voting officers in Lyne ran out of Cowper absentee ballot papers on election day.
Polling booths in North Haven and Bonny Hills, south of Port Macquarie where the federal distribution lines were redrawn earlier this year, reportedly ran out of voting papers for Cowper absentees.
Voters were told they would be signed off the electoral roll but would not be able to cast a ballot.
Mr Oakeshott said he was concerned citizens missed the opportunity to vote.
"It's not just sour grapes coming from me as the former Member for Lyne, as I believe other candidates would have also been disadvantaged," he said.
"But more importantly, people turned out to vote and didn't have the chance to have their say, and it's their right to do so."
Mr Oakeshott said it was unclear how many people were unable to vote because of the missing ballot papers.
"It's a concern that anyone was unable to vote because there weren't enough papers but hopefully it was only a few people, as it appears to have been at this stage.
"But if it's getting to 50 or 100 people who couldn't vote, then that's a real concern and needs to be investigated."
Mr Oakeshott said he lodged a complaint on Monday for the AEC to clarify the issue.
Greens candidate Carol Vernon also expressed concern over the ballot paper shortage and said she would ask the AEC to look into the problem.
"I don't know specifics of what happened but I did see posts on social media about people not being able to vote because of a lack of ballot papers and it is a concern," Ms Vernon said.
"I'll be contacting the AEC to see what they say."