Ali Jones wins court ordered recount after losing Innes Ward

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 02, 2022 |

Ali Jones: Photo: Supplied

Ali Jones has won the right to a court-ordered recount after she lost the Innes Ward seat in October.

Jones lost the seat to Pauline Cotter by 16 votes but went to the Christchurch District Court to force a recount.

In her application, she said had concerns about the special voting process at the Beckenham Service Centre which may have led to informal votes, and that the margin between Jones and the elected candidate was smaller than the number of informal votes in the ward.

In her affidavit, she said she believed that because the margin between herself and Ms Cotter was so small, and because that margin was less than half the size of the number of informal votes, there was a chance that the vote count was incorrect and that if there were to be a recount she might be elected.

Christchurch City Council Electoral Officer Jo Daly confirmed there were 38 informal votes and 245 blank voting papers.

The 38 informal votes were excluded because each elector had voted for more than one candidate.

The blank voting papers were manually checked and confirmed to be blank.

Daly said that electoral officials issuing special votes at nine sites, including Beckenham Service Centre, used an electoral stamp or official mark stamp when witnessing special voter declarations.

During the course of the election, Ms Daly said that it was brought to her attention that the instructions she had given were that officials were not required to sign declaration forms.

Upon reviewing the information, however, Ms Daly said she contacted each special voting site to clarify her instructions that along with the electoral stamp or official mark stamp, officials were to sign the declaration form.

Ms Daly acknowledged that her instructions had been inconsistent but it was only the Beckenham Service Centre that understood that they were not to sign declarations.

District Court Judge K D Kelly said “I am satisfied that the concerns of Ms Allsop (Jones) around special voting constitutes grounds for a reasonable belief that the declaration by the electoral officer of the number of votes received by Ms Allsop may be incorrect and that on a recount she might be elected.

Ms Daly’s acknowledged inconsistent instructions on a recount of those informal votes may have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?