A quirk in the legislation surrounding Local Government Elections has resulted in the need for a complete recount of ballots, from the first redistribution or 'preliminary count'.
Early this morning, Gunnedah Returning Officer Ian Horwood advised of what was called a relatively minor error in calculation of the quota of votes to achieve a council seat. It was discovered that the quota was in fact 701 votes, rather than 702, which had been calculated following the preliminary count.
As a result, the Election Manager has directed a complete recount to ensure complete accuracy and compliance with the Local Government Regulations.
The counting, while substantially completed, was not finalised and the election had not been declared.
Mr Horwood said it is most important accuracy takes precedence over time and the process complies in every detail.
"It is likely that the recount will not materially change the to-date results, nonetheless, it must occur," he said.
It is expected the declaration will be delayed by about one day, with declaration expected on Friday.
How it happened:
The quota required to win a council seat is determined by a formula based on the number of formal votes in the Local Government Election.
Quota = (number of formal votes)/(number of council seats +1) +1
In Gunnedah, there were 7007 formal votes, with nine council seats available.
Therefore Quota = 7007/10 +1 = 700.7 +1 = 701.7
However, according to legislation any remainder should be discarded, whereas the local officials rounded the figure up to 702.