Plenty of fines for non-vot­ers

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - EDWARD RIVER COUNCIL ELECTION - By ZOE MC­MAUGH

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.’’

Norm Bren­nan.

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