SIGNATURES: Tully's tally not valid says Morgan

vecuglies The embattled Victorian Electoral Commission has admitted that it does not check the signatures of most votes cast in the City of Melbourne election.

It is the just the latest in recent developments that have undermined confidence in the performance of Victorian Electoral Commissioner”Sweaty” Steve Tully and his untoward sidekick Sue “Stu” Lang. Tully is paid $5000 a week to run state elections every four years and state municipal elections two years after that. He has a full-time cadre of nearly fifty permanent staff and employs hundreds of officious cardigan-wearers and Greens party supporters as casuals when required.

Their self-importance is only exceeded by the preciousness. Sadly this has manifested itself in them taking extraordinary measures to prevent independent monitoring of the integrity of the conduct of elections they administer.

Many people on both sides of politics have reached the conclusion the VEC ought to be scrapped and its functions merged with the AEC or outsourced to competent private sector providers.

An email exchange obtained by VEXNEWS reveals the admission and raises significant issues about the integrity of the ballot conducted by the highly controversial and embattled Electoral Commissioner, Steve Tully.

Tully’s personal integrity has been questioned after he launched a highly political attack on senior ALP strategist Ray Collins during the election campaign. VEXNEWS reported yesterday that Collins is preparing to initiate legal proceedings against Tully in response to the Commissioner’s improper and untoward conduct.

Gary Morgan, a Lord Mayoral candidate, had publicly campaigned on the issue during the election period.

There are many issues arising from the emails but the most important one is that the identity of the person casting ballots in the Melbourne Council election cannot actually be checked, despite Steve Tully pretending that this can be done.

For example, company secretaries and directors are included on the roll. The state law provides they are automatically enrolled and aren’t required to consent to being put on the roll.

Trouble is, there is no record kept with anyone – including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission – of the signatures of company directors. As this part of the Commission’s website makes clear, companies themselves keep the “consents” signed by directors, ASIC does not. The signature required on ASIC forms that appoint directors is only that of the person lodging the form. That might include a director, but more of then than not, it does not.

Equally property owners’ names are derived from land titles. The council and the state government agency maintaining land titles do not keep a record of the signatures of those either, even though some will exist on land transfer documents.

The Commission washes its hands of the situation, saying they are paid to administer an election with an electoral roll certified by the council, not by them. But the issue is how can they administer a postal vote election and satisfy themselves that it’s been honestly conducted without any ability to check signatures.

The confidence most people have in the integrity of our electoral processes means that people like Steve Tully rely on faith. We assume no one at the VEC has an active interest in who wins the elections they conduct. We assume there is little or no voter fraud in council elections. We assume people do the right thing.

And yet at the top of this structure of faith and trust is an Electoral Commissioner who believes he is a law unto himself. He thinks he can defame and attack individual campaigns and campaign workers without consequence. He thinks he can prevent any real scrutiny of the ballots he counts and no one will care. And clearly he also believes that he doesn’t have to bother checking whether votes have been validly cast before counting them.

How can Victoria have trust in this man to count the elections that do so much to influence all our lives?

The email exchange below is in reverse chronological order.

From: Gary Morgan

To: ‘Bill Lang’ ; Brian Shanahan C Melbourne Grow ; Carl Jetter – Activate Melbourne ; Catherine NG ; Cathy Oke ; Celia Coate ; Donna Lancaster ; Fiona Snedden ; MCC (Michael Fitzgerald ) ; Sue Renshaw ; Gary Singer ; Morgan Clarke ; Jennifer Kanis ; Joseph Toscano ; Ken Ong ; Kevin Louey ; Marion Bishop ; Michael Forde ; MCC (Michele Anderson) ; Nick Columb ; Morgan Clarke ; Peter McMullin ; Ray Collins ; Rebecca Cherry ; Robert Crawford ; Robert Doyle ; Roger Millar ; Rohan Leppert ; Sara Shelton ; Shelley Roberts ; Sophie McEwen ; Trent Smyth

Cc: Roger Millar ; Melbourne Users ; kimberleykitching@hotmail.com ; boyderj@mlc.vic.edu.au ; Liz Williams

Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 10:08 AM

Subject: RE: Councillor Report

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

Melbourne City Council Elections

6th Floor

200 Little Collins St, Melbourne 3000

Dear Mr Lang

Thank you for the attached. Please email me a copy of how the preferences were allocated for the vote for Lord Mayor.

I have your reply to my email of Friday November 28, 2008.

Please send me a copy of the legal advice the VEC has obtained on this matter as it differs from the legal opinion I have received.

As it now stands it is the opinion of my advisors that Saturday’s MCC election results are not valid as many votes were counted which should have been rejected. The reasons are shown below.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan

From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Friday, 28 November 2008 7:11 PM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Melbourne Users; Roger Millar; Marlo Emmitt; Sue Lang
Subject: FW: Entitlement to vote at the Melbourne City Council elections

Dear Mr Morgan

Dear Mr Morgan

Thank you for raising your concerns about the compilation of the voters roll. Given your continued concern, the VEC has obtained legal advice on this matter. The advice received is consistent with my preliminary position.

Accordingly, the count will proceed in accordance with the steps outlined in Candidate Bulletin 3.

Your sincerely

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan]
Sent: Friday, 28 November 2008 12:59 PM
To: Bill Lang; Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users; Sue Lang
Subject: RE: Entitlement to vote at the Melbourne City Council elections

Dear Mr Lang,

Since your note of November 24, 2008 I have received legal advice that you are wrong when you say: “The provisions in the Local Government Act and Regulations concerning the compilation of the voters roll do not apply to the Melbourne City Council elections – refer Clause 5 of the City of Melbourne Act 2001.”

When counting valid ballots for the election of MCC Lord Mayor and Councillors you must rely on The Local Government Act Version No. 002 and the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2005, S.R. No. 98/2005 Version as at 14 March 2008 where there is any conflict with the earlier legislation ie City of Melbourne Act 2001.

For this reason we request that you separate all votes cast by people appointed as Corporate Representatives and check that those persons casting votes have signed a declaration consenting to their appointment.

Please confirm that votes by Corporate Representatives will be included as votes cast only if the voter has signed a declaration of consent.

If you will not confirm the above then there should be no counting of the votes for the election of the MCC Lord Mayor and Councillors and if the votes are counted the election results cannot be valid.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Monday, 24 November 2008 6:26 PM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users; Sue Lang
Subject: FW: Entitlement to vote at the Melbourne City Council elections

Dear Mr Morgan

I can confirm that signatures will be checked on all declarations in exactly the same way. Procedures are not different for appointees of Corporations.

As I explained to you in my email of 20 November, the voters roll for the Melbourne City Council elections has been prepared by the City of Melbourne in accordance with the City of Melbourne Act 2001 and certified by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kathy Alexander. The provisions in the Local Government Act and Regulations concerning the compilation of the voters roll do not apply to the Melbourne City Council elections – refer Clause 5 of the City of Melbourne Act 2001.

Yours sincerely

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan]
Sent: Friday, 21 November 2008 3:03 PM
To: Bill Lang; Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users; ‘katale@melbourne.vic.gov.au’
Subject: RE: Entitlement to vote at the Melbourne City Council elections

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

Dear Mr Lang

Your note confirms you will NOT be checking the signatures of those people who are voting as a corporation representative.

You also confirm you will NOT be checking if a person voting on behalf of a corporation representative has consented in writing to be included on the MCC electoral roll.

Please confirm you will not open any ballots until you have made sure a corporation representative vote is eligible to be included under The Local Government Act Version No. 002, Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2005, S.R. No. 98/2005 Version as at 14 March 2008.

I have copied Dr Kathy Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of the MCC, so she is aware of the above.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Thursday, 20 November 2008 6:02 PM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users
Subject: Entitlement to vote at the Melbourne City Council elections

Dear Mr Morgan

Thank you for your email of 19 November concerning entitlement to vote at the Melbourne City Council elections. I note that the comments in your email are based on your understanding of enrolment provisions in the Local Government Act and Local Government (Electoral) Regulations.

Firstly, the legislative provisions for enrolment on the voters roll for the Melbourne City Council elections are contained in the City of Melbourne Act 2001 (refer clause 5). These provisions differ from the provisions in the Local Government Act that apply to the other 78 Victorian municipal councils. Some key differences are:

· Persons not on the State electoral roll, including non-Australian citizens, but residents of rateable property in the City of Melbourne may apply to Council for enrolment by 3 October 2008. In other Councils persons must pay rates to be included in this category.

· The first-named and second-named non resident occupier of rateable property in the City of Melbourne are automatically entitled to be on the voters roll for that property. Occupiers have no automatic entitlement in other Councils.

· Where no application is received from a corporation that owns or occupies rateable property in the City of Melbourne, the CEO of the City of Melbourne is required to enrol the first two of the following:

o The company secretaries of the corporation (to be taken in alphabetical order)

o The directors of the corporation (to be taken in alphabetical order)

In other Councils only one company nominee is enrolled and must make application.

The voters roll for the Melbourne City Council elections has been compiled by Council and certified by the CEO. As Returning Officer, I have no role in the compilation of the voters roll and cannot provide you with access to any of the documents used in its compilation.

Yours sincerely

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan]
Sent: Wednesday, 19 November 2008 3:17 PM
To: Bill Lang; Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users
Subject: RE: Complying with Legislation

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

Dear Mr Lang

Since your note of November 11 I have looked into numerous aspects of who is entitled to vote at the forthcoming Melbourne City Council election.

Over the last few days numerous people have advised me they have received MCC ballot papers and candidate literature without them knowing they were registered or required to vote at the forthcoming MCC election.

The following lists under the Local Government Act (002) what is required from property owners, property occupiers and corporation representatives to be enrolled to vote at the forthcoming MCC election.

The Local Government Act Version No. 002

Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2005

S.R. No. 98/2005 Version as at 14 March 2008, states:

Part 2 – Voters’ Rolls

Division 1 – Enrolment of voters

  1. Enrolment application from property owner

(d) a declaration signed and dated by the person that he or she is –

(i) an owner of the rateable property for which he or she is requesting to be enrolled; and

  1. Enrolment application from property occupier

(e) a declaration signed and dated by the person that he or she is –

(i) an occupier of the rateable property; and

(ii) liable to pay the rates for that property

10. Appointment of corporation representative

(d) a declaration signed and dated by the person being appointed that he or she –

(i) consents to the appointment

Please advise that as the Returning Officer that for all Corporate Representatives you now have or will have available for inspection the signed ‘consents to the appointment’ (as set out in the Act.) for those people registered to vote at the forthcoming MCC election. If not, please explain why not.

Please also confirm or not that all individual voters ‘consents to the appointment’ will be available for our scrutinisers to inspect before ballots are removed from the envelopes.

Please also confirm or not that if a Corporate Representative’s vote is received by you and there is no corresponding voter ‘consents to the appointment’ then the envelope containing the vote will be separately counted.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 11 November 2008 9:52 AM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users
Subject: RE: Complying with Legislation

Dear Mr Morgan,

I have noted your concerns and as Returning Officer will ensure that signatures are checked on return envelopes in accordance with the law . The VEC is well aware of concerns that have been raised in regard to possible fraud at postal elections and is putting a number of measures in place to address these.

I confirm however, that no evidence has ever been presented to the Commission substantiating any such activity.

I have referred your concerns to the Electoral Commissioner who will respond to you directly regarding the security arrangements that have been put in place.

Yours sincerely

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan]
Sent: Monday, 10 November 2008 4:46 PM
To: Bill Lang; Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users; Liz Williams
Subject: RE: Complying with Legislation

Dear Mr Lang

The Melbourne City Council Lord Mayor and Councillor voting procedures make voting in Zimbabwe elections look legitimate!

It is your responsibility to make sure the elections are not subjected to fraud – everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, including you.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Monday, 10 November 2008 4:36 PM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users; Liz Williams
Subject: Complying with Legislation

Dear Mr Morgan

In response to your email below, I have already advised you in my earlier email of what election officials are required to do under local government legislation. I do not intend to comply with your demands and there is nothing further I can add on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan]
Sent: Monday, 10 November 2008 2:47 PM
To: Bill Lang; Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users
Subject: RE: I’m not asking about how “Mickey Mouse” signs his name

Dear Mr Lang

Thank you for your reply.

It is obvious you will not be checking that any signatures of people voting are authentic.

Your job is to make sure that Council Postal Ballot Fraud does not occur in the upcoming MCC election. For this reason you must have checks in place.

Please do not open any envelopes to count the votes until you have a system in place to detect fraud.

Please advise you will do this.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Monday, 10 November 2008 1:42 PM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users
Subject: RE: I’m not asking about how “Mickey Mouse” signs his name

Dear Mr Morgan

In response to your email below, my staff will deal with the declaration envelopes returned by voters in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2005. As I have already advised, all returned declaration envelopes will be checked by my staff to ensure that the voter has signed the declaration stating that they are the voter named on the envelope.

The process you have suggested is not contained in the Regulations and I do not propose to implement procedures that are not covered by law.

Yours sincerely

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan.com]
Sent: Monday, 10 November 2008 12:42 PM
To: Bill Lang; Gary Morgan
Cc: Melbourne Users; Roger Millar
Subject: I’m not asking about how “Mickey Mouse” signs his name

Dear Mr Lang

Thank you for your reply (shown below).

How will your people know a signature is authentic? I’m not asking about how “Mickey Mouse” signs his name!! Do you understand my question?

Are you going to get your people too personally interview a sample of voters and ask them to verify their signature? IFNOT, Why NOT?

Please answer the above questions today.

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Monday, 10 November 2008 11:35 AM
To: Gary Morgan
Cc: Melbourne Users; Roger Millar
Subject: RE: What is the Returning Officer doing to check signature of a voter on envelope containing their vote is authentic?

Dear Mr Morgan,

My staff will check signatures on the declaration envelopes progressively as the votes are returned after the mail-out of votes commences on 11 November. Staff will examine each returned declaration envelope and must be satisfied that it appears to be the signature of the voter before admitting the vote for further processing.

Any signature that is clearly not the signature of the voter, e.g. “Mickey Mouse” would be rejected but otherwise the signature would be accepted at face value.

Regards

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

Melbourne City Council Elections

6th Floor

200 Little Collins St, Melbourne 3000

Tel: 9639 0183

From: Gary Morgan [mailto:Gary.Morgan@roymorgan.com]
Sent: Sunday, 9 November 2008 11:44 AM
To: Bill Lang
Cc: (All Morgan/Clarke Short MCCE08)
Subject: What is the Returning Officer doing to check signature of a voter on envelope containing their vote is authentic?

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

Melbourne City Council Elections

6th Floor

200 Little Collins St, Melbourne 3000

Tel: 9639 0183

Dear Mr Lang

Many thanks for all the information you are sending us.

When we met on the 6th Floor 200 Little Collins St I asked you what was done at the last election for Lord Mayor to check that the signature on the envelope containing the person’s vote was correct. You advised “nothing”!

Please advise what, if anything, you will you have in place on election night and following days to verify that the signature of a voter on the envelope containing their vote is authentic?

Yours sincerely

Gary Morgan


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Thursday, 6 November 2008 10:35 AM
Cc: Melbourne Users
Subject: Candidate Bulletin No 2

To all Melbourne City Council Candidates,

Attached for your information is Bulletin No 2.

Regards

Bill Lang

Returning Officer

Melbourne City Council Elections

6th Floor

200 Little Collins St, Melbourne 3000

Tel: 9639 0183


From: Bill Lang [mailto:Bill.Lang@vec.vic.gov.au]
Sent: Monday, 1 December 2008 12:33 AM
To: Brian Shanahan C Melbourne Grow; Carl Jetter – Activate Melbourne; Catherine NG; Cathy Oke; Celia Coate; Donna Lancaster; Fiona Snedden; Fiona Snedden – Passion for Melbourne; Gary Morgan; Gary Singer; Jacqueline Watts; Jennifer Kanis; Joseph Toscano; Ken Ong; Kevin Louey; Marion Bishop; Michael Forde; Michele Anderson; Nick Columb; Peter Clarke – Morgan Clarke; Peter McMullin; Ray Collins; Rebecca Cherry; Robert Crawford; Robert Doyle; Roger Millar; Rohan Leppert; Sara Shelton; Shelley Roberts; Sophie McEwen; Trent Smyth
Cc: Roger Millar; Melbourne Users; kimberleykitching@hotmail.com; boyderj@mlc.vic.edu.au; Liz Williams
Subject: Councillor Report

To all MCC candidates,

Attached is a spreadsheet showing the distribution of preferences for the 7 Councillor election.

Regards

Bill Lang

This message is for the designated recipient only and may contain confidential, proprietary, or otherwise private information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the email by you is prohibited. Roy Morgan Research employment policy prohibits employees to make defamatory statements or infringe copyright through email communication and hence will not accept liability for such communications. Although Roy Morgan Research makes every effort to exclude viruses from email communication, it remains the obligation of the recipient to check for viruses.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “SIGNATURES: Tully's tally not valid says Morgan

  1. Dear Mr Morgan
    I can confirm that signatures will be checked on all declarations in exactly the same way.  Procedures are not different for appointees of Corporations. 

    There was no effort made to check signatures or determine the validity or entitlement of the voter to cast the vote, any suggestion that was the case is an outright lie. The postal voting system that is in place is widely open to abuse with inadequate checks and balances. alll that was done was the VEC scanning the envelope and the removing the attached flap.Many which were not properly sealed breaching the privicay of the ballot, once deflapped the ballot were automaticly accepted into the count.

    Robert Doyle’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Susan Riley and Council Candidate, Carl “Jet Set” Jetter both  supported the postal voting system.

     

  2. Anonymous

    The VEC doesn’t check signatures. The EPA Stasi operation in Victoria accepts fraudulent dob-ins and will not prosecute those responsible. Innocent people receive fraudulent infringement notices. They must prove their innocence. EPA Stasi Minister Jennings has been accused in Vexnews of supporting Michael Freshwater, elected by the VEC to the ninth vacancy on the East Gippsland Council. A disgrace Jennings.

  3. John So

    Why don’t you all say what you really mean: Peter McMullin lost and you’re all sad about it. Things will get easier with time.

  4. Tully's Tally

    John So (Clone): This issue is nothing to do about who won or lost the election it is about maintaining public confidence in the electoral process and the mismangement of the Victorian Electoral Commission in its administration.

  5. Melbcity

    VEC access prepolling data before close of poll

    The Email from Glenda Jackson that Steve Tully denied.

    Copy of correspondence Glenda Jackson (VEC), dated November 24, concerning Electronic Voting Kiosk data. One day before polling day in Victoria.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Glenda Frazer
    Sent: Friday, November 24, 2006 8:37 AM

    Subject: Late update to results

    A late update to all regarding the votes taken at our 6 E Centres and Melbourne Airport. Each centre mentioned will be taking votes for all Districts in the State, additionally each of these centres will be counting all votes taken on election day. After analysing the number of voting centre results entered last night for 1st prefs (District and Region) and 2 CP we have realised that everyone could be waiting around all night for what would be dribs and drabs that we do not anticipate would make an impact on the result.

    Because of this we have decided that we will not be entering these small results on election night. These will be entered on Sunday during the day.

    Many apologies for those people who I have misinformed this afternoon, as I said this is a late change.

    We do not anticipate large numbers of votes from these centres. I will keep in touch with progress
    reports.

    Regards – Glenda

  6. Sue Lang

    A large number of people turned up to vote at the Town Hall on Saturday only to find that they were turned away.  Will they be fined also?  How many votes arrived on the Monday ot Tuesday following the Election weekend?

  7. Anonymous

    Is that Sue Lang in fact a man who has become a woman?

  8. annoyed at anonymous.

    who cares if someone is transsexual or not? Why is it relevant to this issue? People have legitimate concerns with how postal ballots are conducted in Victorian local government elections, and you’d do better if you kept the focus on that and leave out the phobic cheap shots.

  9. insider VEC

    There are a number of VEC she-males. Sue is not one of them. You mistake a strong jaw-line for having something extra down below.

  10. Reality Check folks

    Dont for a minute believe that outsourcing these elections will fix the problem of election fraud!!!   The AEC has been advised of similar fraudulent activity in industrial postal ballots.  There response is the same as the VEC.  It wouldnt take much to verify a sample of postal vote signatures yet they refuse to do so relying on the fact that the roll supplied to them is legitimate. 

  11. dodgy

    I like a postal vote system but there must be a way of verifying the votes that come in. This is a disgrace.

  12. Boy named Sue

    Is Sue Lang, Bill Lang’s lost son.

  13. Steve Jacobs

    Go private (kpmg, gts, etc etc).    Always better and cheaper too. 

  14. James

    The City of Melbourne election cost well over 2 million dollars and look what we get for it.

    How much was Bill Lang paid and how much did Tully cream off on the side?

    Is the VEC subject to an audit by the Auditor General or are they exempt as they are from review by the Ombudsman?

  15. fix it brumby

    and all of the above under a system introduced by steve bracks and recently reendorsed by state labor

  16. Wild Horses

    Steve Tully would not know how to scratch his arse if he did not have a manual showing how to do it. Even then he would wipe it with the wrong hand and in the wrong direction. The guy spends millions of dollars trying to boost the participation rate by 0.2% and then spends another million to prevent disclosure of his f*cups. The 2006 State election was a screw-up plus. He cut too many corners and in the process stuffed it all up by being too complacent. Then he tried to cover it up by lying to everyone. He has little to no support from within the Government or the opposition. He is not even respected by his own staff. They all think he is an idiot and the reason why the VEC has become the laughing stock of the nation.

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