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Statement: Supreme Court proceedings concerning iVote and the 2021 NSW Local Government elections

In early January 2022, the NSW Electoral Commissioner commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales seeking a ruling about the validity of the 2021 NSW Local Government elections for councillors in Kempsey Shire Council, Singleton Council and Shellharbour City Council (Ward A). The proceedings were heard in the Supreme Court before his Honour Justice Beech-Jones CJ at CL on 22 and 23 February 2022. His Honour reserved his judgment and will make a decision at a later time.

During the hearing, representatives for the NSW Electoral Commissioner stated that the proceedings were brought because of an issue with respect to the iVote system which was not caused by, and does not reflect in any way upon, the conduct of any of the defendants to the proceeding.

In particular, representatives for the NSW Electoral Commissioner emphasised that that the naming of the individual councillors as defendants involved no suggestion of any wrongdoing or impropriety on their parts. Rather, the individual councillors declared to have been elected in each of the affected elections were named as defendants only because they were legally necessary parties, in that their positions may be affected by the Court’s orders (depending on what the Court decides). Public officials are from time to time named as defendants in litigation for that reason. The NSW Electoral Commissioner wishes to make clear that any suggestion that that circumstance reflects negatively upon the persons named as defendants is unfounded.

The NSW Electoral Commissioner will make a further statement when the Supreme Court delivers its judgment.