Accusations of vote-tampering plague decision over Carterton clock tower's paint job

Disgruntled Carterton locals are expressing outrage after it was revealed the paint job of the town's clock tower will not be decided democratically.

The Carterton District Council posed three options for the new paint job to residents, who were told they could vote on which they preferred.

The first two options are similar plain white or grey.

The third option is a bright, fabulous rainbow.

However, there has been some confusion around how exactly the vote will proceed.

"There appears to have been some deliberate attempts to usurp the process and cause confusion in the community," the council wrote on its Facebook page last week.

Although the public vote was to still continue as planned, the council said, "the issues over the voting will need to be weighed by the new council who will have final say over the paint colour choice and how to proceed."

That decision is causing anger in the community.

"Why did I vote, when my vote won't count?" wrote one disgruntled woman on the council's Facebook page."Looking forward to bringing in a new council."

Another person questioned the democratic value of the whole thing.

"So basically we're voting for colours we had no input in choosing and then the results of the vote can be overruled by council anyway?" It doesn't sound very democratic," they wrote.

The council has since clarified that although they will have the final say on the voting process and how to proceed with the vote, ultimately the people will decide on the clock tower's colour.

But it's not just the perceived lack of democracy that has Carterton up in arms. Issues have plagued the voting process for the past three weeks.

A council spokesperson told Newshub that people suspect the voting process is "flawed" and that someone deliberately attempted to destroy a voting box to show the voting process isn't secure.

There has also been confusion over what locals are voting for after someone took out an advert in the local paper showing an unofficial picture of one of the clock tower with Perspex panels and lights.

The unofficial picture resembles the grey painted tower, and the council is concerned people have voted for this option, unaware that the likelihood of lights and Perspex is dependent on funding.

More confusion arose when a woman was collecting her own votes at a farmers market with a replica voting box.

Although she told Fairfax she was just conducting an informal poll as "a way of engaging people", there has been confusion with locals who assumed her ballot box was an official one.

The voting closed on Saturday, but accusations of tampering mean the counting process will need to be closely monitored.

A spokesperson for Carterton District Council told Newshub on Tuesday the votes are currently being held in a locked safe to avoid further mishaps.

"We're going to have to count the votes in front of a policeman or a Justice of the Peace," they said.

The final decision will be announced by a brand new council on November 20.