A controversial councillor says he cannot comprehend the outcome of the election saying the COVID-19-affected process to get there “absolutely stinks”.
A controversial councillor says he cannot comprehend the outcome of the election saying the COVID-19-affected process to get there “absolutely stinks”.

Controversial councillor demands recount after ‘balls up’

A REDLAND City councillor is demanding a recount of votes after he was beaten on preferentials.

Division 9 incumbent Paul Gleeson, first elected in 2012, said he had been denied a re-count after an unexpectedly high number of preferential votes swung the result in favour of challenger Adelia Berridge.

Paul Gleeson.
Paul Gleeson.

He said his concerns stemmed from the fact that he doubted there were enough voters had given preferences to return such a result.

Mr Gleeson, known for organising the region's big ticket Bayside Blues Festival as well as controversially amassing 17 sustained misconduct allegations, said he won the primary vote by 136 however Ms Berridge had overtaken him by 517 after preferences.

"That means that over 36 per cent of votes had to be preferenced," Mr Gleeson said.

"I scrutineered a quarter of the pre-poll (voted)... of the votes I saw nowhere near 36 per cent were preferenced.

"From what I saw it would have only been about 10 per cent.

"If Adelia has won fair and square then good on her... but I'm questioning the ethics of the ECQ.

"It absolutely stinks.

"The whole thing was a balls up."

Cr Gleeson said a scrutineered recount in 2016 revealed a miscount of about 1000 votes - an error which could have cost him the election.

He said the lack of scrutineers in counting facilities, due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, was problematic and could have been avoided had they been asked to wear gloves and face masks.

Mr Gleeson said he again contacted the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) to ask why he was not allowed the re-count in front of scrutineers.

Ms Berridge also said it was "disappointing not to have scrutineers".

An ECQ spokeswoman said all candidates were advised of count times and locations by email so that scrutineers could be present.

She said that only one scrutineer per location was allowed this year to due to social distancing rules and that none were permitted the night of the election.

"Candidates were asked not to provide scrutineers on the election night count as the spaces were unable to accommodate the increased number of people and adhere to the corona virus distancing requirements," the spokeswoman said.

"Mr Gleeson scrutineered himself on 29 March.

"There are no allegations about a correction to a count in the 2020 local government elections. "There are no grounds for a recount."

Originally published as Controversial councillor demands recount after election 'balls up'


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