Voiceland’s sluggish voters

VINCENT voters have been sluggish in this year’s council elections.

With the mayoral position and north ward vacancies filled without a contest, just 20 per cent of south ward voters have bothered to return their ballot papers.

In the 2017 election 26.69 per cent voted.

Although voters have been apathetic, sign stealers have been active.

Along with candidate Josh O’Keefe’s signs being stolen (“Election signs slashed,” Voice, October 5, 2019), Adina Lieblich has also reported missing signs as well.

Ms Lieblich says one of her signs, and one of fellow candidate Ashley Wallace’s, turned up 22 kilometres away in a bin up at Hillarys. 

Bayswater’s three wards have had an average of about 26 per cent of votes returned, while the blanket of election signs across Stirling so far sees their average return around 23.5 per cent

It’s too late to post a vote, so the only way now is to show up at your council headquarters before 6pm on October 19 and hand the form in.

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STIRLING voters are staying away in droves from today’s local council election (Saturday October 19), despite the mayor being elected by popular vote for the first time.

At the time of going to print, about four out of five Stirling voters had still not returned their postal ballot papers.

In the lead-up to the election the city launched a digital advertising campaign to entice younger people to vote and talked up the chance to have a say in who will be mayor.

But it’s not engaged voters, with council ward return rates between 20-25 per cent four days out from the close of polls.

Stirling’s governance manager Jamie Blanchard said there had been a delay in the WA Electoral Commission sending postal ballots out.

A WAEC spokesperson confirmed the Queen’s Birthday long weekend had delayed the delivery of 1.5 million postal vote packages.

“It is a fact that the City of Stirling packages were amongst the last printed and lodged and hence completed packages for local governments lodged earlier started to be returned to the central processing centre before those for the City of Stirling,” the WAEC said.

“The commission also notes that the school holidays were a week earlier in 2017 which meant some electors returning from holidays were able to return their packages earlier.” 

Mr Blanchard noted there was still time for voters to deliver ballot papers in person at the city’s Cedric Street administration centre on election day.

At the last local government election in 2017 Stirling had the highest voter enrolment in WA, but one of the lower participation rates at 32 per cent.

At the time of going to print return rates in other Voiceland councils were also low – Bayswater (about 25 per cent), Vincent (20 per cent). Perth isn’t holding an election while its councillors are suspended.

by DAVID BELL

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