Eurobodalla Labor for Council today reminded voters who have not yet pre-polled (or used iVotes) for the 4 December elections, of the importance of every eligible voter exercising their voice at the ballot box in the lead-up to Saturday.

“We know in this year’s delayed poll there have been all sorts of challenges for the electorate since election booths opened 22 November,” Labor’s Mayoral candidate David Grace said today, “including new 100m ‘no-go’ zones where volunteers are barred from assisting voters with the customary how-to-vote flyers, and instead voters having to take mobile phone photos or QR codes to help remember their candidates’ details.

“With the wet weather, a construction site for one pre-poll centre in Batemans Bay challenging even the most up-to-date GPS, restricted placement of traditional posters … there could be a flow-on consequence at the ballot box.

“It could be that we see a higher rate of fail-to-votes (Section 245) or a higher informal vote count because many ratepayers are saying they’re not as connected to the process this year given what we’ve been through with COVID lockdowns and Black Summer bushfires.

“Or it could be the lower rate of take-up, given the new 100m no-go zones, of how-to-vote cards from candidates’ volunteers leads to an unintended change in voting patterns around groups and individual candidates,” Mr Grace said.

He believes ElectionsNSW will be closely monitoring the state’s local government election process in this pandemic era, looking at many consequences and reactions.

“It sets the tone for what to expect how the Bega by-election will be conducted, and of course, the federal election too.

“We hope the State Electoral Commission will review the restrictions and changes made during this election, and will welcome feedback as we will be willing to provide our view of how this election was conducted at its conclusion.

“We have purposely been as widely available to the entire shire and its communities, towns and villages with six candidates from the north to the shire’s south, with full profiles on our web site; attending Q&A sessions with the voters; posting and discussing issues on Facebook and Twitter; and keeping the media informed in order to talk up our policies,” Mr Grace added.

The Labor candidates in addition to David Grace are Maureen Searson, Matthew Findlay, Claire McAsh, Deirdre Russack and Jack Egan.

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