Thursday, 19 September 2013

Scrutiny Denied: AEC reply to request for copies of BTL Preference data-files

UPDATED. See below  

Published in this article is the Australian Electoral Commission's reply to written request for Scrutineers to be provided copies of the Below-the-line preference data-files.

There is nothing in the legislation that prevents this information being made available to scrutineers . It is no different then the publication of the progressive results for the House of representatives.

Without access to this information it is impossible to independently verify the integrity of the elections results.
It is akin to shopping at a supermarket and watching good get scanned, without a receipt and a running balance you have no idea of the costs charged are correct 
The Australian Electoral Commission's failure to ensure that the electronic count is open and transparent brings the conduct of the Senate election into disrepute.

Other parties and States have also requested progressive access to copies of the below-the-line preference data files and been refused.

What does the Commission have to hide that it refuses to publish this crucial information?  

By not publishing this data in a timely fashion and subjecting it to proper independent scrutiny in a timely fashion leaves the Commission open to allegations that the information recorded on the file may have been changed or altered.

UPDATED.  We have sent teh following letter to Mr Jeff Pope APM Australian Electoral Commission. Our request was once again was denied and an application for review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is pending

Copy of text dated 23-September-2013

Jeff Pope APM
Australian Electoral Commission and State Manager for Victoria
State Executive
Victorian State Office

Further to your correspondence dated 18 September 2013

Re: Request for copies of the below the line Data-entry records recording the details and preferences in electronic format

The information requested in my previous correspondence falls within the definition of Section 273A(6) (a) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act and the definition of record as outlined in the Acts interpretation Act


Computerised scrutiny of votes in Senate election
Rights of scrutineers
             (6)  For proceedings under subsections (4) and (5) of this section, the requirements of paragraph 265(1)(c) are met if the scrutineers have access to:
                     (a)  a record of the preferences on the ballot papers that have been received by the Australian Electoral Officer and whose details have been stored in the computer (including informal ballot papers, and formal ballot papers that are not sequentially numbered); and
                     (b)  a record of the ballot papers that are notionally transferred, or exhausted, at each count; and
                     (c)  a record of the progress of the count of the votes, at each count.



"document" means any record of information, and includes:
                     (a)  anything on which there is writing;
"record" includes information stored or recorded by means of a computer.

The information requested is the record (s) of the preferences on the ballot papers that have been received by the Australian Electoral Officer and whose details have been stored in the computer.

The Australian Electoral Commission has an obligation to provide this information to scrutineers pursuant to Section 273A(6) of the Act as requested

This information is required in order that Scrutineers can verify the integrity and correctness of information stored in the computer that is used to tabulate and determine the results of the election.  The information requested should be provided in the most cost effective and efficient means possible. The information requested is readily available in electronic format.

I again request that the information sought be provided without delay and that regular updates be provided on a daily basis with certified copies of the information provided prior to the declaration of the poll

Should you require further information I can be contacted via return email or telephone 0403378111

Yours faithfully

Anthony van der Craats
Australian labor Party

PO Box 254 Carlton South Victoria 3053


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