31 candidates seek your vote
THIRTY- ONE candidates will contest the Geelong region’s Lower House seats at this month’s state election.
The Victorian Electoral Commission held ballot draws yesterday ahead of the opening of early voting centres on Monday.
Strong turnouts are expected at voting centres across the state, including the local outlets in Bell Post Hill, Belmont, Moolap and Torquay.
Almost half of all 4.13 million enrolled Victorians are predicted to vote before the November 24 election day, electoral commissioner Warwick Gately said.
“Based on data from 2014, we’ve found that in electorates with a high number of candidates, there tends to be an increase in informal votes,” he said. “This can be due to voters repeating or missing numbers, or becoming confused about preferences.”
The total number of candidates across the five local seats has fallen slightly since the last election.
However identical-sized fields from 2014 will contest Lara (five), Geelong (eight) and South Barwon (eight).
Labor’s Lisa Neville saw off eight challengers for the seat of Bellarine in 2014, but now faces just four opponents.
The absence of a handful of conservative minor parties makes Liberal candidate Brian McKiterick’s task of securing preference flows that much tougher.
Minor parties Victorian Socialists and the Animal Justice Party are standing in every seat in the region, along with Labor, Liberals and the Greens.
Liberal candidate Freya Fidge secured the coveted top spot on the ballot in Geelong, with former mayor and independent Darryn Lyons last.