There has been a deal of speculation, rumour, and conspiracy theories circulating regarding the large number of Invalid Votes recorded in the recent Presidential Ballot.

The reason for this is very simple.

Some Ballots (15) were declared invalid because the intentions of the voter were not clear. A number for example crossed out all the names and one indicated a vote for Batman.

The largest number of invalid votes (155) was from a Local where the person forwarding back the ballots themselves, did not include all of the Signatory Sheets.

This meant the Scrutineers and the Returning Officer could not be sure that the ballots received came from persons entitled to vote – a very important consideration.

Consequently, the Scrutineers and the Returning Officer had no choice but to declare all those votes invalid. It would have been quite improper for them to have been counted.

In any event, this did not materially change the final result – that is – Peter Nicolle would still have been elected – albeit with an increased majority if the invalid votes had been counted.

If these invalid votes had been included, the result would have been:

Jeffrey McCulloch - 220
Gregory McPhee - 576
Peter Nicolle - 659
Boyd Raines - 63

The Scrutineers, including the Scrutineer appointed by Greg McPhee signed off on the Ballot Declaration.

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I hereby declare: Bradley Kenneth Johnston, Elected Invercargill Local Vice President.