Auditor-General review of quality assurance procedures for vote count in the general election

5 December 2023: The Auditor-General, John Ryan, has decided to carry out a review into aspects of the quality assurance processes in place for the vote count in the 2023 general election.

After the official results of the general election were published on 3 November 2023, the Electoral Commission became aware of issues relating to the counting of votes. Subsequent investigation found that three voting places had misallocated party votes to the wrong parties during data entry, another 15 voting places had similar errors for candidate votes, one electorate had special votes entered incorrectly, five voting places had correctly entered voting data, but for the wrong days, and one electorate had missed counting the votes in a ballot box during the official count.

Although these errors had no effect on the outcome of the results of the election or the result in any individual electorate, the Commission had expected its quality assurance processes to have identified and corrected those errors before the official count was completed. Amended official results were published on 9 November 2023.

It is important that the Commission is able to have confidence that the errors it has identified will not re-occur in future elections. Avoiding these errors in future is also important for the public’s trust in the vote counting process. Therefore, after discussion with the Commission, we have decided to carry out review work about the Electoral Commission’s quality assurance processes for counting votes.

Our work

Our review will look at:

  • why the vote counting errors occurred;
  • what quality assurance policies, processes and measures were in place in relation to those errors;
  • the extent to which the design, operation and implementation of those measures was effective;
  • what the Commission did once those errors came to light; and
  • any improvements we might identify.

We will not make any public comment while our work is under way. We intend to complete our work and publish the results by April 2024. We anticipate that will also involve tabling a report in Parliament.