Quentin Kenihan’s family upset after Adelaide City Council votes not counted
The sister of late disability advocate Quentin Kenihan has said it is “hugely disappointing and upsetting” that his votes in the Adelaide City Council election have not been counted.
- Adelaide City Council candidate Quentin Kenihan died in October
- Votes for him were not counted on Saturday and instead passed onto the next candidate preferenced
- His sister and friends say they are disappointed about the process
Kenihan died last month after nominations closed, but before the election on Saturday.
The advocate and entertainer’s name remained on the ballot, however votes for him were not counted by the Electoral Commission and instead allocated to the candidate preferenced after him.
The official count had him on zero votes out of 6,966 cast for the four area councillor positions.
His sister Sia Kenihan told ABC Radio Adelaide she found out yesterday that his votes would not be counted.
“It was hugely disappointing and upsetting,” she said.
“In the days after his passing, I was actually contacted indirectly through Quentin’s publicist and asked whether or not I wanted for Quentin’s votes to be counted.
“It was explained to me that would have to be a manual process and without hesitation I said ‘absolutely’, because I know that’s what Quentin would have wanted, so the fact that hasn’t happened is really disappointing.”
Commission has to follow the ‘letter of the law’
Last month, electoral commissioner Mick Sherry explained the process in a statement, two days after Kenihan died.
He said he was unable to print fresh ballot papers without Kenihan’s name on them.
“The Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 does not provide for a fresh drawing of lots or for the commissioner to order the candidates otherwise than as determined at the original draw held at the close of nominations,” he said.
Deputy electoral commissioner David Gully said he was obliged to follow the “letter of the law” which did not allow for Kenihan’s votes to be counted.
“If we move away from that, we will have every other candidate and person challenging the result and we can’t bring the system into disrepute,” Mr Gully said.
He said it would be possible for the ballots to be looked at after the month-long period for challenges to the Court of Disputed Returns.
“Once we get through that process, we’d be happy to speak to the family,” he said.
The official count of votes received for Adelaide City Council area councillor. (Electoral Commission of SA)
In 2010, Dignity for Disability candidate Kelly Vincent was elected to South Australia’s Legislative Council after lead candidate Paul Collier died during the campaign.
Kenihan supported by new Lord Mayor
Kenihan endorsed Adelaide City Council’s new Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor on the morning of the day he died.
Ms Verschoor said she was “heartened” the ballots could be looked at next month.
“Quentin spent a lot of time out there talking to ratepayers,” she said.
“He was out all that period before he died. In fact, he was out with me the day before he died.”
Central Ward councillor Houssam Abiad, a friend of Kenihan, had said before the election that he would be voting for Kenihan for area councillor and encouraged others to do so too.
“He worked very hard for the city and the area position and I think his family and friends deserve to know how many ones he got,” Mr Abiad said.
“The outcome doesn’t change, it’s just those number ones to pay tribute and pay respect.”
Former Greens senator Robert Simms was elected as an area councillor, along with domestic violence campaigner Arman Abrahimzadeh and Franz Knoll — the father of Transport Minister Stephan Knoll.