Ripon recount case to begin early next month

The Ripon election result will be disputed in the Court of Disputed Returns early next month.

More than four months after last November’s state election, the fight for Ripon is continuing after Labor’s candidate Sarah De Santis declared she would dispute Liberal Louise Staley’s wafer-thin victory to the Court of Disputed Returns, with a Supreme Court Victoria spokes- person confirming the hearing is scheduled for May 6 and 7.

At a directions hearing in February, Ms De Santis’ lawyer stated the Victorian Electoral Com- mission’s recount was “unlawful” and the Labor candidate received an “absolute majority” of votes.

Ms De Santis was originally declared the provisional winner by 31 votes, until a recount was conducted which saw Ms Staley retain the seat by just 15 votes, with the VEC declaring her the Member for Ripon on December 8.

According to a statement from the VEC during the counting process in December, as first preference ballot papers for the two leading candidates were not further examined during the preference distribution, they were the only ballot papers that have been checked twice, rather than three times.

For more on this story see Page 5 of The Advertiser, Friday, April 12

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