MR STATHAM RECOVERS CENTRAL.
AN OFFICIAL’S BUNGLING.
As announced in our late 'Stop Press’ news yesterday afternoon, the magisterial recount for Dunedin Central resulted, somewhat dramatically, in Mr Statham displacing Mr Munro in the lead. The recount was made, by the returning officer (Mr H. Maxwell), two scrutineers, Mr B. Harper (clerk of court, under Mr Widdowson, S.M.), and a clerk, and practically occupied two days. The net result of the first declaration of the polling was; Mr Munro 3,799 votes, Mr Statham 3,791, informal 78. The magisterial recount shows;
v C. E. Btatham (M.) „ 3,744 J. W. Munro (Lab.) ... 3,732
Informal, 199. .Majority for Statham, 12.
It will be noted that whereas the total number of votes accounted for in the official declaration was 7,668, the total under the magisterial scrutiny became 7,675. The fact is t hat four of these seven votes missing from the first count represent papers ect aside because the returning officer could not decide for whom they were cast, while the other three represent absent voters’ papers received after the official declaration had been made. The former have beer: interpreted at the magisterial recount. and the latter were in proper course placed before the same recount committee. Under magisterial scrutiny the informal votes rose from 78 to 199, and it is stated that in one Caversham box alone there were 118 informal votes, only two of which were invalid through fault of the voters, the remaining 116 being rendered informal through the blunder of a poll clerk who marked voters’ numbers openly on the back of ’their papers instead of on the counterfoil only, thus violating the secrecy of the ballot.* And it is stated that on the change involved in that one box’s returns Mr Statham gained the 22 votes that put him 12 ahead. Of these 116 votes that govern .an issue which may be more momentous than it* face value indicates, 'Sir Munro * claim* that 69 were cast for him and 47 for Sl*. Statham, giving him (Sir Slunro) a lead of 10, instead of a minority of 12. And it is considered, certain that steps will be taken to invalidate the election unless Sir Statham resigns. The latter’s attitude is no secret. He had no intention, when he petitioned for a magisterial recount, of taking advantage of any technicality that such recount might bring into the scales in his favor, and while ne feels that he should have been declared elected in the first place, since these 118 votes were obviously in< formal, he is not, disposed to retain th< seat unless he is convinced that he cal do so without the slightest imputation of winning on a technicality. And it is com. monlv reported that at present he has the intention of resigning and jecontestmg the seat, though he may not act until after the holidays. OTHER RECOUNTS. Ohinemuri. —The magisterial recount in connection with the Ohinemuri election will commence at Paeroa on December 29, before Mr Eawsoa, S.M. Hawke’s Bay.—lt is stated that the result of the magisterial recount for the Hawke’s Bay seat will not bo known for six or seven days. Six scrutineers are engaged, but more are to be appointed in order to .expedite the work of making a close scrutiny of the rolls. The ecrutinoers aro to juid ih£io will be no progress reports. Wellington East.—The following are the final figures as the result of the recount in Wellington EastDr Newman (M.) 4,062, D. M’Laren (Lab.) 4,014; majority for Dr Newman, 48; informal, 64.
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ELECTION RECOUNTS, Evening Star, Issue 15684, 24 December 1914