Despite the number of informal votes in the race for the job of Wollongong Lord Mayor being almost double the final margin, Labor's Tania Brown isn't worried that they could have made all the difference.
Once final preferences were handed out incumbent Gordon Bradbery beat out Brown by just 2666 votes, with 4500 voters casting an informal ballot.
Had enough of those informal votes been filled out correctly, there seems to have been the chance it could have swung the election in Cr Brown's favour -but she doesn't agree with that.
"I think there was the high informal vote but you also had the iVote crashing, so I think there was some challenges there but I don't think it would have changed the outcome," Cr Brown said.
"We had so many challenges thrown at us in the COVID election, such as not being able to hand out how to votes - most of the booths where we were able to hand them out with 100-metre distance we won.
"I could play the 'what if' game but I don't think it would change the outcome."
The reference to 100 metres was a measure brought in by the NSW Electoral Commission to reduce the spread of COVID; how to vote cards could not be handed out within 100 metres of the entrance to a polling area.
Cr Brown wasn't a fan of that rule, believing it posed a disadvantage to all parties.
"I think this not handing out how to votes was rubbish, I don't think it had anything to do with COVID," she said.
"A how to vote shouldn't be forced on people but the option should be there and I think that will help with the confusion.
"I think for many people, especially many people with a non-English speaking background, it added a level of confusion and complexity. A how to vote helps them make sure they're doing the right thing in the sense of a formal vote."
With a federal election due some time before the end of May 2022 the Federal Electoral Commission could learn from this how to vote confusion, she said.
There were also issues to fix around the online voting system, Cr Brown said, not limited to the crash of the system.
"I've had people tell me they live near Smiths Hill but they chose to stay home and do it from home," she said.
"It took them six hours to get registered. The wife did it for her and her husband - her registration never came through, though his did.
"I've had other people who are in Sydney and thought 'we're just go vote absentee', which you can't do at a council election.
"So they tried to vote online but it closed at 1pm on election day and people weren't aware of that."
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