News

Plenty of fines for non-voters

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September 17, 2017

Fines totalling more than $160,000 will be sent to district voters who failed to show up at the polls for local council elections on Saturday.

Of the 6420 registered voters in the Edward River Council region at July 31, only 5269 ballots were submitted — meaning almost 20 per cent of the community did not vote.

Since Monday’s progressive tally, which did not include postal votes, the total number of voters in the Edward River Council only grew by 19.

Newly elected Edward River Council councillor Norm Brennan said while the figures are similar to the last local election in 2008, they did show a worrying trend that must be addressed.

‘‘I have said to council general manager Adam McSwain and local returning officer Stacey Almond that I was having some feedback that some people in our region still did not know there was an election being held,’’ Mr Brennan said.

‘‘I’m not sure what more can be done — there was plenty of coverage and ads in the Pastoral Times, and it was also discussed on the radio.

‘‘The numbers show people were either not aware or just could not be bothered.

‘‘There is a multitude of reasons why people might not have voted — apathy, disillusionment with the merger process, or maybe simply because they did not want to vote.

‘‘I don’t think I have the solution at my fingertips, but I think the council needs to work towards one.

‘‘A mail drop might be a good option for the future. It may not see everyone vote, but it may improve numbers.’’

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