The Inspectorate has completed its investigation into the alleged fraudulent submission of ballot papers for the Melbourne Lord Mayor by-election in 2018.
The investigation focused on allegations that real estate agents and property managers filled out ballot papers on behalf of interstate and overseas landlords contrary to the law. The investigation found that 41 ballot papers were marked by a person other than the registered voter. The property owners, who in all cases were found to be international owners, had authorised property agents to manage all aspects of their property, however, this cannot include casting a vote under Victorian electoral laws.
Importantly, the investigation found that the 41 ballot papers were detected by VEC processes and excluded from the ballot count and therefore not affecting the outcome.
While an offence against the electoral provisions of the Act was substantiated, the Inspectorate opted not to pursue prosecution and instead has issued formal warnings to five people and also provided guidance to ensure property managers understand and follow relevant electoral rules. In addition, the Inspectorate will work with the Victorian Electoral Commission to provide clarity for property managers and agents for future elections where similar circumstances exist.