From today until Thursday, ballot packs will be mailed out to eligible properties in Boroondara and the other councils in Victoria using postal elections.
As per VEC regulations, no more than 35% of ballots can be posted on any one day. Packs are sent by priority mail, but with the recent Australia Post changes, there may be delays in some properties receiving their packs.
In response to this, some of the electoral changes for this election included provisions to allow for election offices to accept ballot packs up to 12 noon on the fifth working day after the last day of voting, provided that the Returning Officer is satisfied that it was posted before 6pm on Friday 21 October. Counting and declaration of results has also been delayed to account for these changes.
For my part, I would highly recommend that you vote early. This should help to avoid any potential problems with late voting later on and will also make sure that you don’t forget (which happens to the best of us).
Remember that voting is compulsory and that there are penalties for not casting your ballot.
Before you vote!
But wait! Before you decide which boxes to number, make sure that you making an informed decision.
Don’t rely solely on the 200-word candidate statement and photo to make your decision. While they can be useful sources of information, I highly recommend that you conduct your own research into each candidate and their policies.
This may be something as simple as a quick search on Google, which will takes minimal effort and time on your part. Most, if not all, candidates have some sort of online presence, such as a Facebook page or website.
As mentioned in previous posts, this election also features questionnaires that each candidate has had the option to complete, which are available on the VEC website. While some candidates have chosen not to fill out the questionnaires, they can be a useful source of information.
These resources, along with anything else you might find, can reveal useful information that will help you decide how to cast your vote.
How to vote
Council elections use a preferential voting system. Unlike New South Wales and some other jurisdictions, you must number every box for your vote to be counted.
Number all candidates by writing a number in the box next to each candidate’s name, beginning from ‘1’ (most preferred) until you have numbered every box.
Also remember that even if candidates have distributed ‘how to vote’ cards or suggested other ways to number boxes, you are not obliged to follow their instructions. You are of course able to cast your vote as recommended, but you are also free to number each box however you like.
If in doubt, the instructions on your VEC ballot will contain details and more information. The VEC website and phone service (13 18 32) will also be of use.
In summary, be informed, vote early and know that every vote counts. May the best candidates win!