Strong voter response to local council elections
October 28, 2020
With two days before the postal receipt deadline (12 noon Friday 30 October) the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) says that the 2020 local council elections will have a record turnout.
Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately says around 3.2 million ballot envelopes (75%) had been received by close of business on Tuesday. The previous record average return rate of 75.19% was in 2005.
Processing the larger number of returns has meant the extraction of ballot papers from envelopes in preparation for counting or computer data entry, is slower than anticipated in some areas.
‘We must also ensure strict adherence to our COVIDSafe plan to maintain the health and wellbeing of our staff and scrutineers and this is also slowing the process. I ask all election participants to be patient as the wellbeing of our people and the accuracy of the process must remain the prime considerations over a rushed result. The target to complete all counting and the declaration of all results remains Friday 13 November 2020,' Mr Gately says.
Mr Gately also appealed to all participating scrutineers to abide by the COVIDSafe arrangements and directions of the Election Manager during counting operations.
‘Non-compliance and bad behaviour will not be tolerated.’
Manual counting of ballots is generally performed in single councillor wards, whereas computer data entry is required to calculate the results for multi-member wards in a proportional representation system. While some counting will take place in election offices, the data entry for many councils is taking place at key locations including the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, Sandown Park and Geelong Showgrounds.
The VEC recommends that people interested in results keep an eye on the VEC’s social media accounts for updates on results as they start coming through on the VEC website (vec.vic.gov.au) from Monday 2 November.
Further information on enrolment is available by calling 1300 805 478 or at vec.vic.gov.au, where voters can also sign up to the free VoterAlert service to receive important election reminders by SMS and email.